Find Me Guilty
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this film begins with a shooting. Following this explicit, bloody violence, the film is mostly talk, as gangsters testify to their experiences in court. The film contains one sex scene (gangster's ex-wife visits him in an interrogation room, where their activity is interrupted by guards). Characters smoke cigarettes and cigars, and drink wine and liquor. The protagonist appears on the toilet in one scene. There is frequent use of "f--k" and other profanity. Courtroom exchanges include slangy references to violence, drug use, and sex.
What's the story?
FIND ME GUILTY begins as Jackie DiNorscio (Vin Diesel), a middling mobster, is shot in his bed by his junkie cousin Tony (Raúl Esparza). As he recovers, he's called to snitch on his "family," and when he refuses, finds himself convicted of drug charges (a 30-year sentence), then part of the trial against the Lucchese crime family as well. Here he decides to defend himself, occasionally aided by lead attorney Ben Klandis (Peter Dinklage). Jackie strains the patience of the chief prosecutor (Linus Roache) and his fellow defendants, including mob boss Nick Calabrese (Alex Rocco). Not to mention Judge Finestein (Ron Silver), whose efforts to control proceedings fail predictably, as he plays "straight man" to Jackie's antics.
Is it any good?
Find Me Guilty's script, reportedly based on actual, unwieldy transcripts, lacks shape, instead delivering a series of disjointed scenes and occasional punch-lines to jokes that aren't very funny. The film's distractions include stilted dialogue, a perversely immobile camera (this from the director, Sidney Lumet, who made the riveting Dog Day Afternoon), and odd show-stopping events). Crowds of defendants fill shots but such images do little to build individual characterizations.
The only woman in sight (aside from Jackie's very loyal and mostly mute daughter) is Jackie's ex, who comes to see him in prison on news that his mother has died (off screen). During her brief and difficult scene (Jackie tries to seduce her in the visiting room), Annabella Sciorra brings a subtlety and intelligence mostly missing from the rest of the film.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the notion of "family" presented here: How do the gangsters see themselves as loyal to one another? How does Jackie's dedication to his "boys" seem to supersede his self-interest? Does the movie glamorize the gangster lifestyle?