VOD film review: Find Me Guilty
Ivan Radford | On 14, Oct 2021
Director: Sidney Lumet
Cast: Vin Diesel, Linus Roache, Peter Dinklage
Where to watch Find Me Guilty online in the UK: IMDb TV / Amazon Prime / Apple TV / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / Google Play / Sky Store
“I don’t rat on my friends,” says Jackie DiNorscio early on in Find Me Guilty. Played by Vin Diesel, he’s the kind of stubborn, straight-talking guy who values family above all else. So far, so Vin Diesel, an actor whose Fast & Furious persona is so familiar and entrenched that the Saturday Night Live sketch about him waxing lyrical about “The Movies” is almost impossible to detach from the real thing. Find Me Guilty, a 2006 courtroom drama, is a welcome reminder that there’s more to Vin Diesel than the family, the cars, the popcorn, the movies.
The film retells one of the longest court cases in US history – a RICO trial that included 20 defendant and lasted more than as many months. DiNorscio is one of the 20 Mafia members going up in front of a jury, but unlike the rest of them, he chooses to represent himself rather than take the lawyer offered to him. It’s either a foolish or smart move, but it’s certainly an entertaining one – he plays the role of defence like it’s the warm-up for a stand-up set, and his wise guy wisecracks repeatedly hit home for both the audience in the room and the audience at home.
The penultimate film by Sidney Lumet, it might seem surprising that the 12 Angry Men director might choose to approach a courtroom story as a light comedy, but there’s a serious point underneath the quips and retorts. DiNorscio stands as an outsider in the court, and his arguments are less to do with innocence and more to do with the absurdity of the law in the first place – every time a member of the prosecution (led by the enjoyably tetchy Linus Roache) starts wheeling out big words, DiNorscio shoots for the lowest common denominator, undermining every attempt at lofty, impenetrable jargon or precedents.
Supported brilliantly by Peter Dinklage as Ben Klandis, the savvy head of the defence team, it’s a deceptively sharp commentary on the way that justice can be weighted in favour of the system – even as it embraces the shades of grey on display, with none of the defendants actually decent members of society. Vin Diesel walks the line between sincere and dishonourable with aplomb, joking and smiling his way through the dialogue (largely taken from the court transcripts) with movie star charisma – right up to the poignant finale. It’s a showcase for the actor more than a classic Lumet offering, but that’s no crime. After all, what more could you want from the movies?
Find Me Guilty is available to watch on IMDb for free (with adverts) within the Amazon Prime Video app. It is also available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a Prime membership or a £5.99 monthly subscription.