Solid, ‘old-fashioned’ filmmaking narrative from 1982 in which a washed-up, alcoholic lawyer takes on the Boston Catholic Church.
With more than a nod by Billy Bob Thornton’s current streaming series, Goliath, The Verdict sees the once brilliant Frank Galvin (Paul Newman – The Hustler, Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid) represent a medical malpractice victim, left as a human vegetable in the central Catholic hospital. With the Church denying culpability, Galvin finds himself locking horns with opposite number, Ed Concannon (James Mason – A Star is Born, Georgey Girl) even though his case crumbles through circumstantial evidence.
It’s well-crafted by director Sidney Lumet (12 Angry Men, Serpico) from a script by David Mamet (House of Games, Wag the Dog) but The Verdict is guilty of taking itself a little too seriously, resulting in a brooding, occasionally dour, courtroom drama.
Nominated for 5 Oscars in 1983 – best film, director, actor, supporting actor, adapted screenplay.