Fox Home Entertainment presents
Find Me Guilty (2006)
"Send me to jail. I'm not guilty, but I'm used to it."- Jackie DiNorscio (Vin Diesel)
Stars: Vin Diesel
Other Stars: Peter Dinklage, Linus Roache, Ron Silver, Annabella Sciorra, Alex Rocco
Director: Sidney Lumet
MPAA Rating: R for (strong language and some violence)
Run Time: 02h:04m:33s
Release Date: 2006-06-27
DVD ReviewI really thought I had Vin Diesel pegged—his big successes put him squarely in the action superstar camp. But in his latest project, Find Me Guilty, the big, bald guy shows some real acting chops as Jackie DiNorscio, a family man in the truest sense of the word. Unfortunately, said family is the Luccheses, a group of criminals that practically rule New Jersey, but are facing a stiff prison sentence for their trouble.
Jackie doesn't have many morals, but one thing he won't do is rat out his friends or family. After being shot and nearly killed by his cousin, Jackie is facing 30 years in prison for possessing illegal drugs. It's not long before he's offered a deal in exchange for testifying against a group of his cohorts. Jackie sticks to his guns and then some, making the decision to defend himself. He consults with trained lawyer and new "colleague" Ben Klandis (Peter Dinklage), who gives advice on crafting a less rugged image for the jury and Judge Finestein (Ron Silver). Jackie struggles as he not only has to fight against his own image, but he deal with prosecuting attorney Sean Kierney (Linus Roache) and mob boss Nick Calabrese (Alex Rocco).
On the surface, Find Me Guilty is a courtroom drama with plenty of room for Diesel's one-liners. Buried not so deep under that is a criticism of just how ridiculously long the court process can be. This trial, which, we're told before the opening credits, actually happened, lasted nearly two years. Just having Jackie DiNorscio subject the court to his initial buffoonery seems reason enough for the length of the proceedings, but it isn't long before we discover differently. That this clean-cut case was drawn-out for such a long time is pathetic, and the film doesn't mince words in expressing these feelings. Cramming over 600 days into a couple of hours is a tall order, but, thanks to Diesel, the excellent supporting cast, and a handy on-screen day counter, we're consistently immersed in the proceedings.
Legendary director Sidney Lumet takes on this daring bit of anti-typecasting, and gets an incredible performance out of Diesel. His realistic dialogue delivery and facial expressions enable him to hold his own with seasoned veterans like Silver and Rocco. He also has a natural rapport with Dinklage, one of the finest character actors in the business these days. The simple ease with which Diesel moves around the courtroom (despite his awful hairpiece) goes beyond the antics of a performer who's out to prove himself in a more serious vein. This is the result of hours of research by a man tackling a role that means a lot to not only his career, but his Italian heritage as well.
It helps that Lumet has been down the judicial path before (The Verdict, 12 Angry Men), but he doesn't rely on tired clichés to make the story or this new, non-bald version of Vin Diesel work. The director treats all of these mobsters with compassion, not for what they've done wrong to society, but in how much they care for each other and their wives and children. From the moment I saw the first trailer, I expected a cheesy, My Cousin Vinny clone from this wrongfully-ignored film. What I found instead was one of the more refreshing DVD discoveries of the year.
Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A
|Aspect Ratio||1.78:1 - Widescreen|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer captures Lumet's fine camerawork well. The image is finely detailed, with solid black and contrast levels. There is some grain from time to time, but the amount of dirt and scratches is kept to the bare minimum.
Image Transfer Grade: B+
Audio Transfer Review: The audio is Dolby Digital 5.1, and, despite the sometimes annoying score, is impressive. This dialogue-driven track benefits from crisp, clean line delivery that blends in well with the rest of the sound. There isn't much as far as bass presence goes, but the directional effects are a nice touch.
Audio Transfer Grade: B-
Disc ExtrasFull Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring The Boondock Saints: Unrated, My Cousin Vinny
3 TV Spots/Teasers
Packaging: Keep Case
- A Conversation with Sidney Lumet
Extras Grade: C-
Final CommentsPut all preconceptions of Vin Diesel aside and check out this kindler, gentler version in Find Me Guilty. Sidney Lumet is back in top form, making for a surprisingly fun two hours in the courtroom.
Chuck Aliaga 2006-07-05