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The Verdict (1982)

2oth Century Fox

Cast: Paul Newman, Charloette Rampling, Jack Warden, James Mason.

Rating: R

Run time: 129 mins.

Genre: Drama

Verdict: Bland (see rating system)

I hadn’t seen this 1982 Paul Newman classic in quite a while so it came as quite a shock to see how dull and plodding it now seems.

While there’s no doubting Newman’s powerful performance as boozing Boston lawyer Frank Galvin - and a crafty, eloquent turn by James Mason as Ed Concannon, his courtroom opponent - the movie is simply too flabby at 129 minutes.

Galvin is on a slide into oblivion years after a jury tampering charge iced his career, leaving him trawling around funeral parlours for families looking to sue. Lawyer friend Mickey Morrissey (Jack Warden) offers him one last chance to get his life in order: an easy case of negligence against a Catholic-run hospital and two of its doctors after a young woman has been left in a vegetative coma.

But after seeing the woman in her hospital bed, Galvin shocks Morrissey by turning down an out-of-court settlement offer, choosing to fight instead.

Through his alcoholic haze, Galvin is convinced he can win the case and restore some of his own self-worth, but he’s up against Concannon and his crack legal team, who are used to playing dirty. While Morrissey reluctantly agrees to help Galvin fight the case, the beautiful, but mysterious Laura Fischer (Charlotte Rampling), helps fill some of his emotional emptiness, but at what price?

Fans of the movie will doubtless enjoy this two-disc edition, which features all-new documentaries including Newman and director Sidney Lumet talking about their work.

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