Find Me Guilty

“Vin Diesel gives, what could be, the performance of his career in “Find Me Guilty”. Pity nobody saw it” – Clint Morris


Vin Diesel, Peter Dinklage, Linus Roache, Ron Silver, Alex Rocco, Annabella Sciorra, Raúl Esparza, Richard Portnow

Vin Diesel gives, what could be, the performance of his career in “Find Me Guilty”. Pity nobody saw it.

Like Garth Brooks pretending to be hard-rocking Chris Gaines (remember that little career misfire?), it seems nobody’s much interested in seeing the artist-formerly-known-as-Mark Vincent in anything other than a tight-fitting T-Shirt, emerging from a cloud of smoke (with a rocket launcher).

In much the same way that Schwarzenegger and Stallone have struggled to prove themselves outside of their trademark genres – and they always end up returning to what they do best, at the request of their agents and accountants – Diesel seems determined to break free from the ‘action hero’ status that he’s been labelled with – since hitting the big time with “The Fast and the Furious” and “xXx”, – but if the returns on “Find Me Guilty” are anything to go by, it ain’t going to be an easy transition. Not if he wants to eat in the meantime.

Not that Director Sidney Lumet’s “Find Me Guilty” is a fantastic film – yes, Lumet. It isn’t. In fact, it’s more a ‘performance’ piece than anything else. The storyline – it’s based on the true story of Jack DiNorscio, a mobster who defended himself in court for what would be the longest mafia trial in U.S. history- isn’t that gripping, and the pacing is a bit off, but as far as Diesel goes, he’s at the top of his game.

The man, channelling Sly’s “Copland” ploy, doesn’t skim on the transformation here, packing a belly and wearing a wig, to at least ‘look’ the part of the film’s central good-guy gangster. Coupled with his really good turn, it isn’t long before the audience totally forgets who it is up on the screen there – having to remind ourselves that this is ‘Vin Diesel’ giving us such a bravura performance. (Granted, Diesel did start out in dramas, like “Saving Private Ryan” and “Boiler Room”, so it isn’t that much of a stretch for him). He’s likeable. He’s charming. He’s funny. And best of all, he’s a character. A real guy. Something most of Diesel’s past films haven’t offered too much in the way of.

If the film had been a little punchier, and offered a little more to the everyday film goer – in contrast to simply playing to the ‘Sidney Lumet’ fans, or the ‘courtroom’ movie buffs – it might’ve done a bit better. Or would’ve it?

Check out a movie that offers Vin Diesel more than two pages of dialogue – you won’t be amazed, but you will be impressed.

Rating :
Reviewer : Clint Morris