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Archive for the ‘Peter Dinklage’ Category

Find Me Guilty

13 Sep

Find Me Guilty – Directed by Sidney Lumet. Courtoom Drama. The longest criminal trial in U.S. history is derailed by one of the 20 gangster defendants.125 minutes Color 2006.

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I sought out this picture because the director has entertained me for years: The Fugitive Kind, Long Days Journey Into Night, Network, Running On Empty, The Verdict, Dog Day Afternoon, Serpico, 12 Angry Men. What I love about Lumet is his respect for the spectacle inherent in the human comedy being photographed at all – and so offering it up in a style which is not two dimensional, not cinematic, but three dimensional, that is to say, theatrical. Time and again the human activity taking place here is given point and honor by an angle the camera takes to report it. Nothing is sensationalized or emotionalized; rather we see the man with the chair on his head bump comedically more than once trying to enter a space not tall enough for it, but we see it at the far end of a very long corridor and at deep focus – so the joke on him is not diverted into Laurel and Hardy but simply noticed. We appreciate the director for the taste he ascribes to us and for the aesthetic common sense we have to distinguish truth in its proper treatment. This gift of his extends to the actors as well, and they are often superb. Brando’s opening scene is Fugitive Kind is the greatest piece of film acting I have ever seen, and, here, Linus Roache is given full latitude to go nuts over this unimaginably huge two year court case. We also see the beautiful Peter Dinklage take just the right size and attack in his role as the principal defense lawyer (his speaking voice alone!). Lumet is a master of courtroom drama (12 Angry Men, he Verdict), and this his penultimate picture is a masterpiece of the genre, an impression that might be overlooked because of the peculiar story it tells and the character responsible for the story’s outcome. Vin Diesel is an actor I had never seen before because he appears in the sort of film I never see –violent action films – but he is a wonderful actor entirely. He plays the a gangster who takes on his own self defense, and proves himself to be a disruptive Merry Andrew before a judge excellently played by Ron Silver. He is entirely appealing as a man whose love of his gang family retains its hold in him against the truth of its not being returned. Vin Diesel, Annabella Sciorra as his wife, Linus Roache, and Peter Dinklage give Oscar-level performances. The movie is mistitled, but marvelous! Don’t miss it.

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