Frank Galvin a lawyer who had been having a rather tough time gets one final shot at a big case to regain respect when he goes to trial over medical malpractice instead of taking the settlement he was offered.
Galvin had turned to drink and didn’t really seem to care about very much anymore. This has a lot to do with early on in his career when he was fired from the prestigious law firm he was working for in Boston and was almost disbarred to top it all off his wife also left him. He had been preying on the weak and looking to make a few dollars, having lost his last four cases he wouldn’t really be very high on anyone’s list to hire.
Sally and Kevin Doneghy are the people who are fighting for their sister/sister-in-law when Deborah Ann Kaye was left in a coma due to doctors not following correct procedures. It was a win win situation for Galvin who would only get a fee as a percentage of the settlement/win.
Everything would change when he visits the hospital and sees the state Deborah has been left in. This scene was incredibly powerful and sees the change in the man who seemed too far gone to really care about anything. That was no longer the case and for this reason he turns down the offer as believes they can win in a court case. Being up against Ed Concannon and his massive team was never going to be easy. Mickey Morrissey his only friend and former lawyer is by his side. It certainly highlights the differences between big firms and those lawyers who are working on their own. Laura Fischer conveniently comes into Galvin’s life as this case is starting to take off!
Courtroom dramas are truly outstanding due to the tense nature they bring when you have no idea which way the verdict will go this is something that I throughly enjoy. The incredible performance from Paul Newman is a joy to behold in this film as a man battling his own demons as well as being emotionally engaged within the case. He is amazing up against James Mason as well, an actor who I have always enjoyed watching. This was one of his final roles two years before he passed away. His voice is just quite frankly something else. Charlotte Rampling was a standout as well as Jack Warden who was scene stealing at times which was something else I throughly enjoyed about this film.
Despite being released in 1982, The Verdict has the power to still feel extremely relevant and highlighting that human rights need to be fought for and that some lawyers are willing to do the extra to ensure that. The film was nominated for five Oscars including Best Picture but failed to win any of them, both Newman and Mason were nominated for their performances. I guess the themes from this film make you hope that if you cannot fight yourself that others will for you.