Find Me Guilty (2006)
Reader Rating (Rate Here): [Total: 1 Average: 4/5]
Directed By: Sidney Lumet
Cast: Vin Diesel, Peter Dinklage, Linus Roache, Ron silver
Imagine, in a team of big fish you are there just to make up the number, with nobody expecting anything from you- in fact the opposition considers you as a weak link and targets you but in the end you turn out to be the wild card who smashes it out of the park. Yes, Find Me Guilty is a story of one such wild card called Jackie DiNorscio (Vin Diesel) in the famous United States v. Anthony Accetturo et al. RICO trial which was one of the longest trial in history. Jackie, Nick Calabrese (Alex Rucco) the mob boss and dozens of other mobsters are being tried together for a countless number of crimes and they are fighting a losing battle.
The movie is directed by the greatest director across any generation Sidney Lumet- this guy started his career with a movie like ”12 angry men” which is studied in many Film and Business schools to this day for various reasons. And in career spanning 50 years he has created many masterpieces and all these movies had one common ingredient which made them brilliant: storytelling. But this one is different, this is what I term an “actor’s movie”, it belongs to Vin Diesel and him alone. The script of Find Me Guilty is simple and moves at an easy pace and we all know the outcome since it is based on a real life incident but this movie is engaging because of Vin Diesel.
Vin Diesel has carved out a niche for himself where he is stereotyped as a certain type of actor. His movies are defined by action, crazy stunts and adrenaline pumping car chases but here there is none of it. The only action it has are the three gun shots he receives. The movie has brought out the actor in Vin Diesel and proves that he is much beyond the muscle and stunts. He talks like an Italian, walks like an Italian and yeah he is Italian. Here he plays a gangster or as he calls himself a gagster and he is a “pro se” and yes he entertains the audience but in turn pisses off the defendants, the opposition and the judge himself.
Find Me Guilty opens with Jackie being shot by his junkie cousin Tony Campagna (Raul Esparza) and Tony expecting retaliation from the mob agrees to become a government witness for district attorney Sean Kierney (Linus Roache) and that sets into motion a massive trial. The movie starts with a clear cut distinction between the good (government) vs the bad (criminals) but as the trial proceeds the movie transcends to noir genre where the lines are blurred and by the end there is reasonable doubt created in the minds of jury and the audience to find them guilty. And the main reason is Jackie who is liked by the jury- they laugh at his jokes (the one about his wife and the butcher will crack you up) and as the saying goes: A laughing jury is never a hanging jury, they eventually side with him.
The themes explored in Find Me Guilty are of friendship and loyalty, Jackie is already facing jail time for 30 years in separate cases but still is willing to fight for them, he says : I love these guys, I grew up with them. He has nothing to lose and asks the jury to instead find him guilty. It is less of a courtroom drama and more a fight of a gagster vs the best in the business.
There are other characters as well like the judge (Ron Silver) who have given a good performance and the most famous dwarf of Hollywood Peter Dinklage as Ben Klandis an experienced lawyer who tries to advice Jackie from time to time.
The movie is entertaining from the start to the end and more importantly it remains consistent with the theme, watch it if you want to be surprised by Vin Diesel.