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Customer Review

104 of 122 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The Verdict" meets "Erin Brockovich" with mostly satisfying results., October 23, 2007
George Clooney once again shows us the Hollywood powerhouse he is as lead actor and producer of this engaging film.

While the film is essentially well-written and extremely well-acted, it offers nothing new to the corporate thriller genre and most of Amazon's comments in their review are dead on accurate. The film is essentially a mystery that involves corporate baddies trying to screw over the little guy by covering up a danger to the public. We've seen this plot before in film's like Erin Brockovich. In addition, we have a conscience driven lawyer who is tired of defending criminals he knows are guilty and another lawyer who is burnt out from playing the firm's "Janitor" and now wants to find some moral ground to land upon. Both lawyers are seeking some kind of redemption. The first has a nervous breakdown finding it and the second is forced to find it as his life spirals out of control. This is very much like Paul Newman's Oscar nominated role in the fabulous film The Verdict.

The script is clever, but all too predictable by the final third of the film. In fact, as generally satisfying as the finale is, it is something of a letdown too. Things are wrapped up far too neatly for what was a complex film with deep round central characters. Clooney's character has his nature revealed to us slowly as if peeling a rotten onion. Each layer is ultimately unsatisfying until we get to the core which seems damaged, but salvageable. I certainly expect another Oscar nomination for him and it's well-earned here. Tom Wilkinson as the manic depressive attorney who has an epiphany that his corporate clients should not get away with what they are doing is a bit over-the-top and even stereotypical, but still convincing in the end. A supporting Oscar nod is not out of the question, but I think he would be undeserving of it. Contrary to a majority of the reviews here, even Tilda (The Chronicles of Narnia) Swinton's controlling corporate bigwig who lies to herself to justify her actions is a deeper character than most give credit for her being. Her avoidance of actually saying, "Kill (fill in the blank)" coupled with her sweating fit scene clearly demonstrates a believably conflicted individual. I would not be surprised to see an Oscar nod for supporting actress come her way. Even Sydney Pollack, sometimes director (but better actor), is very convincing here and he also serves as co-producer with Clooney. These generally terrific performances nearly make up for a somewhat flat ending.

Credit must be given to first time director James Gilroy who adapted the "Bourne" books to film and wrote the screenplay for this film. He handles his actors well in that he knows what he wants, but also trusts their instincts to deliver what they believe are their character's true emotions. His directing style in unobtrusive and that greatly benefits this particular kind of film. His lack of coming up with a more complex, less tidy ending is his only major flaw in this otherwise outstanding film that is certainly worth your trip to your local theater or Blockbuster when it becomes available on DVD.
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Showing 1-10 of 17 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 23, 2007 5:35:20 PM PDT
Linda Bulger says:
Steven, what a thorough and balanced review! I'm not the biggest movie-goer in the world but I TRY to see at least some of the movies that might generate Oscar nods -- and this one looks like a bob both ways. I've got a little list and now this one's on it.

I loved the "rotten onion." We all know people like that and now I'll have you to thank when my mind gives me that phrase for any "damaged but salvageable" acquaintances.

Posted on Oct 23, 2007 7:21:07 PM PDT
A judicious review! I thought your references here were apt and on target. Laudably you give us a bare bones plot with tightly woven evaluations that pay dirt. Wonderful review. By the way, I have forgotten about 'The Verdict' with Paul Newman. I partly agree with you about the ending, but I thought it could go two ways near the end, and it still kept me guessing.

Posted on Oct 25, 2007 5:58:37 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on May 5, 2008 2:27:23 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2007 6:11:54 AM PDT
KerrLines says:
First off, Steven, Thanks for your comments on SCISSORS (you made my day!)
Secondly, this was the best review,yet, of this film on Amazon.I had reviewed it with 5 stars, then saw it a second time, then withdrew my review! My views really changed on the second time.It simply had no "staying power" on a second viewing.
I thought that Tilda WAS the singlemost outstanding performance.Each time I saw it, I was enraptured with her character.Clooney gets all the glory, but Swinton is the linch-pin of this film.I agree, 3-4 stars is where this film belongs, but I am not bold enough to go there right now with all of the hype this film is getting.I have decided to remain mute.PLEASE,PLEASE,PLEASE, do not miss LARS AND THE REAL GIRL!!!!!!! I saw this last week at a screening, and I believe it to be the most original film I have yet to see,EVER.Amazon is not allowing reviews yet, but IT IS SO WORTH A GO to the theatre to see it.

Posted on Oct 27, 2007 11:11:59 AM PDT
nothing says:
Looks like a keeper, superb review of this film and hopefully I can go see it this weekend!


In reply to an earlier post on Oct 29, 2007 4:09:05 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on May 5, 2008 2:27:19 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 29, 2007 4:09:56 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on May 5, 2008 2:27:20 PM PDT]

Posted on Nov 8, 2007 11:14:52 AM PST
JoeyD says:
Nice review Steven! The wife and I have this on our list of 'must see' films before Christmas and your review has me even more motivated than before. If it is anything like "The Verdict" with the great Paul Newman, than I am all over this one. Thank you!

Posted on Nov 11, 2007 5:19:25 AM PST
Steve-O, you're trippin' with that pic dude! Too cool, no bald spots or nothing, haha.
This is a movie I've been meaning to see, a glowing review buddy. You've really shed some light on it for me. I might wait to catch it on DVD now though, thanks for enlightening me.
Take care...

Posted on Nov 21, 2007 11:48:54 AM PST
KrossD says:

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