The Verdict

“So much of the time, we’re just lost.”

David Mamet wrote screenplays for several years before he jumped into the director’s seat, and while some of them still distinctly sound like Mamet’s writing, others really don’t. The ‘Mamet Speak’ isn’t there, or perhaps it’s just less obvious. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we kick off another Mamet series, this time focusing on films he worked on only as screenwriter. We start this series with his second screen credit as screenwriter, Sidney Lumet’s 1982 courtroom drama “The Verdict.” We talk about what works for us with Mamet’s script and what doesn’t, and really try to figure out why – is it not Mamet enough? We chat about the actors, from Paul Newman and Jack Warden to Charlotte Rampling and James Mason, and what they bring to the table. We really get into the look of the film, discussing Andrzej Barkowiak’s cinematography, Edward Pisoni’s production design and John Kasarda’s art direction, analyzing how they use their tools to tell this story. And we get into some subplots, really trying to resolve some issues that the film leaves hanging. It’s a strong courtroom character study, even if it wasn’t strong enough to take on Gandhi at the Oscars. Check it out then tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

Andy’s Trailer: Lazer Team — “I’m not sure if this is comedy genius or a truly great representative of the dregs of January. Either way, it made me laugh and will probably end up as a guilty pleasure for me. Plus, I’m curious to see how things shake out for YouTube’s paid subscription service YouTube Red.”

Pete’s Trailer: Remember — “Atom Egoyan. Martin Landau. Christopher Plummer. Nazi Hunter Thriller. When did you stop reading to go find out when you can see this movie?”