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Customer Review

127 of 129 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Newman's Best Work, May 15, 2002
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This review is from: The Verdict (DVD)
During the first 25 years of his career, Paul Newman played characters who were confident and self-assured. Being a great actor, Newman was always able to infuse his characters with frailties and vulnerabilities that made them well-rounded and three dimensional. From Rocky Graziano to Cool Hand Luke to Doug Roberts (The Towering Inferno), Newman played self-confident characters who were strong and took charge of a situation. Perhaps this lack of frailty is the reason why Newman was able to play much younger characters well into his 50's (in 1981's Absence of Malice, the audience fully accepted that the then 56 year old Newman could be romantically involved with the then 35 year old Sally Field).

In The Verdict, however, Newman is almost shocking in his hesitancy and self doubt. As attorney Frank Galvin, life has beaten him down so much, he seems like a man far older than his years who is afraid to do anything for fear that tragedy and bad luck will once again crush him. For the first time, Newman seems more like a victim than a survivor -- stammering, hesitant, weak, alcoholic and defeated. Even his courtroom summation at the end of the film is halting and hesitant. In a film full of fine actors (James Mason, Charlotte Rampling, Jack Warden, Milo O'Shea, Lindsay Crouse, etc.), Newman still stands out. It's an unbelievably great performance and a great companion piece to The Hustler -- "Fast Eddie" Felson after life has chewed him up and spit him out.

Unfortunately, Paul Newman, once again, did not win the Oscar for Best Actor -- Ben Kingsley won for Ghandi. Unlike with The Hustler, however, Newman wasn't really robbed, but was actually the victim of bad luck. Kingsley was born to play Ghandi and gave the performance of his life. In most other years, Newman probably would have run away with the Oscar. In 1982, however, he had the bad luck to be up against an actor who literally became one of the most revered and admired men in history. While no one can say that Kingsley didn't deserve the honor, it is still a shame that Paul Newman did not win an Oscar for his flawed, weak and defeated Frank Galvin.
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Tracked by 1 customer

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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 27, 2008 4:20:50 PM PDT
Mickysolo says:
Right on.

Posted on Dec 21, 2011 7:13:08 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Dec 21, 2011 9:17:54 AM PST]

Posted on May 18, 2013 5:38:33 PM PDT
MovieFan says:
Agreed. 1982 was one of those rare years when the Oscar should have been shared between TWO best male actors. But then again, you're talking about the Academy ...

Posted on Oct 21, 2013 2:53:12 AM PDT
MarkAntney says:
I agree with 9999.99999% of your review (great one BTW) EXCEPT, I can't agree that Newman "Stood Out", his supporting Cast was excellent and I actually think Mason, Warden, and Rampling,...were his equal if not (oh so slightly:):)) better?

I was very young back then but I thought then and still think to this day, he should've won over Kingsley.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2013 3:15:27 PM PST
REALLY tough year for actor. Two great drama and two great comedy performances. Hoffman in Tootsie and O'Toole in My Favorite Year are probably my favorite performances by both of those actors TOO!

Posted on Dec 26, 2013 2:18:03 PM PST
Frank M. says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2013 2:34:29 PM PST
You certainly know plenty about adding nothing judging by your comment. First of all, it's blu-ray, not blue-ray. Second, if you'll notice, this review was written in 2002 -- way before blu-ray. Third, if you'll also notice, most of the product reviews of this or any other DVD discuss the movie. So sorry I didn't write several paragraphs about the cover art. Finally, a review is subject to the reviewer's "likes and dislikes." So if the product is a DVD, it makes sense to discuss your movie "likes and dislikes," doesn't it? I don't mind it when someone disagrees with one of my reviews. However, I do mind when that criticism looks to split hairs and pick a fight instead of expressing an opposing viewpoint.

A belated Merry Christmas to you, Frank. Judging by your rather unpleasant disposition, Santa must have brought you a lump of coal.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 28, 2015 10:47:54 AM PDT
Bookman says:
Newman was robbed. He had a much more challenging role.
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Location: San Mateo, California United States

Top Reviewer Ranking: 24,271