“FIND ME GUILTY”— Based on a True Story

“FIND ME GUILTY”

Based on a True Story

Amos Lassen

Sidney Lumet brings us a very funny look at bad courtroom behavior in which! Vin Diesel ‘gives a sensational performance. He is supported by an all-star cast that includes Peter Dinklage, Annabella Sciorra, Alex Rocco, Ron Silver and Linus Roache in the true story of the most amazing criminal trial in US history. We see that justice has a strange sense of humor.

When police arrest twenty members of the Lucchese crime family, the authorities offer Jackie Dee DiNorscio (Diesel) a bargain: a shortened prison term if he’ll testify against his own. DiNorscio, however, has other ideas. He refuses to cooperate and decides to defend himself at his own trial. In doing so he turns the courtroom upside-down with a hilarious fight that and one of the most shocking verdicts in judicial history. This is a farce about bad courtroom behavior and is based on a true story. and most of the dialogue is taken from actual courtroom testimony in a 1987-88 NYC conspiracy mobster trial involving twenty members of the notorious New Jersey’s Lucchese family that went on for over 600 days–making it the longest criminal trial in American history. It was also the most bizarre and humorous trial and that is because of  one ever because of the antics in the courtroom by Lucchese soldier Giacomo “Jackie Dee” DiNorscio who acted as his own lawyer. 

 

The film  opens with Jackie getting shot four times in his bedroom by his junkie cousin Tony Compagna (Raúl Esparza), who is too stoned and scared to be a good shot. While being shot Jackie lovingly reminds him that “You’re my cousin! I love you!” and after Tony flees he will not press charges even though he was seriously wounded. Jackie believes in loyalty and not blabbing no matter what.

Jackie is imprisoned for thirty years on narcotic distribution charges in an undercover sting and Tony, fearing retribution, has turned stoolie for the FBI and gives state’s evidence that leads to the charges of conspiracy of twenty Lucchese soldiers including Jackie and Lucchese’s kingpin Nick Calabrese (Alex Rocco). All the accused have their own top-notch defense lawyers, Ben Klandis (Dinklage) is the leader of the legal team. Jackie gives his fleabag lawyer the boot and represents himself even though he only has a sixth-grade education. He explains to Judge Finestein (Silver) that he got his law experience because he spent half his life in jail.

 

The smug youngish career-obsessed prosecutor Sean Kierney (Roache) sees this as the chance he has always been waiting for and puts together an involved case with a lot of evidence, informers. He uses former Lucchese underling Tony Compagna as his key witness. Jackie wins the jury over by straying from his line of questioning to tell dirty jokes, charm them with personal stories, provoke the witnesses, and find holes in the prosecution’s ethnic profiling. These tactics offer compassion for Tony on the witness stand as a sick member of his family and makes a point of speaking from his heart rather than like a lawyer. The convicted gangster, despite all the evidence against him, is treated sympathetically as Lumet shows the cracks in our judicial system where juries are swayed by their emotions more than by the evidence. The film shows that “a laughing jury is not a hanging jury.” Once the trial begins and we’re left to wonder if Jackie is perhaps demented.  “Find Me Guilty” is a real odd duck, just like the man at its center.  It’s at odds with itself but is always watchable, sometimes compellingly so.

SPECIAL FEATURES: 

  High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of the main feature

  Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Surround

  English and Spanish Subtitles

  A Conversation with Director Sidney Lumet featurette (SD, 4:43)

  Original Theatrical Trailer (SD, 2:26)

  3 TV Spots (SD)

Special Features May Not Be Rated, Closed Captioned Or In High Definition.

Leave a Reply