Find Me Guilty (2006)

DailyView: Day 249, Movie 348

Here is another film that has been on the list for the DailyView since the very beginning and I had not gotten around to it. It is the Vin Diesel courtroom drama, Find Me Guilty.

Jackie DiNorscio (Vin Diesel) was a low level criminal in a New Jersey crime family. After his cousin shoots him, Jackie gets arrested for dealing drugs and is sent away for 30 years. The prosecutors building a case against the whole crime family approached Jackie with a deal if he would testify for them. Jackie refused to rat on anyone in the family.

The trial began with a courtroom filled with defendants each having their own lawyers. Jackie decided that he would defend himself in the case after his previous lawyer stick it to him so badly. Jackie is supported by lawyer Ben Klandis (Peter Dinklage), though when he sees some of the behaviors of Jackie, he wondered if he had done the right thing.

Ron Silver played the judge, Sidney Finestein, who was doing his best to present the fairest trial that he could, but he was worried about how Jackie’s behaviors were going to affect a possible appeal.

If you are only used to seeing Vin Diesel saying “family” all the time in the Fast and the Furious franchise, you should give Find Me Guilty a chance because this is one of the few examples of Vin Diesel really flexing his acting muscles (this and a small role in Saving Private Ryan… and, I suppose Groot). Diesel is really good in this court room drama and he brings a lot of emotion to the part. He acts like a buffoon at times, but when the stakes are at hand, he delivered big time.

This is based on a true story, the story of the longest mafia case, going over 600 days. Director Sidney Lumet, who had other legal dramas under his belt such as 12 Angry Men and The Verdict, brings a ton of credibility to the genre and gives us a great story of family and loyalty unlike many you will see.

I will say that the film felt long and could have benefited from about 15 minutes less, but the film is hurt by the feeling of passage of time. It did not feel like it was a 600 + day trial, but the film did feel long, if that made sense.

Find Me Guilty is a solid movie that is filled with drama and funny moments. You will never believe that this is Vin Diesel either.

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