Ezy Reading: The Verdict

Evan Kanarakis

This week I’ll freely admit, I am flat out trying to meet a script deadline… It’ll be touch and go to see if I can make it, but one thing is sure, between now and this coming Friday, there are only more late, long nights to be had in front of my laptop.

In any event, since my head is so wrapped around the world of scriptwriting this week, I thought I might offer a short glimpse into one of the most underrated and, indeed, forgotten film dramas of the past thirty years. That film is the excellent The Verdict (1982), written by David Mamet, directing by Sidney Lumet, and starring Paul Newman. The movie was nominated for five Oscars, most notably for Newman’s incredible performance, and Mamet’s tight, engrossing script, but it missed out on all counts.

Still, if there is a movie to be recommended for those eager to see a legal drama that beats out most of the tired efforts on offer today, and a performance of a man in decline seeking out redemption in Paul Newman’s character of Frank Galvin, may you see The Verdict sooner than later. Certainly, whenever I sit down to work on a script, I always find myself leafing back through the pages of The Verdict for what is effectively a text book example of everything a perfect script should be, from act and scene structure to richness of character, plot twists and turns, and well-penned dialogue. If you can’t find the movie, then at least enjoy the read: http://www.imsdb.com/scripts/Verdict,-The.html

Ezy Reading promises to return next Monday with a more customary offering; one that has not suffered by the constraints of deadline pressures!