Diesel found ‘guilty’ of having talent and charm

Andrew Gaug

Vin Diesel steps away from his normal action hero role to play a real-life mobster in Find Me Guilty. PHOTO COURTESY OF YARI FILM GROUP

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

While some stars such as Jim Carrey and Mel Gibson break out of the genre they were stuck in and find success taking on different roles, others like Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger don’t seem to capture the same magic outside of the characters that made them famous. Luckily, Vin Diesel has the talent and charm to carry the role of real life mobster Giacomo “Jackie Dee” DiNorscio in the funny and engaging Find Me Guilty.

In Guilty, Diesel erases unpleasant memories of the static characters he played in xXx and The Fast and the Furious. He plays the role of DiNorscio, a mobster who remains loyal to his friends and family at all costs, with the nuances and emotion that such a role requires.

Though DiNorscio was a well-respected member of the New Jersey Lucchese family, Guilty shows that he was no Scarface or Corleone. He is haunted by his decision to jump ship from the Bruno family to the Lucchese Family. DiNorscio’s character is highly flawed. With all of these problems, it would seem a challenge for Diesel, but he takes on the part with ease and style.

Find Me Guilty chronicles what became the longest criminal trial in U.S. history. Unlike other courtroom dramas, it spares viewers from putting too much on its plate via introducing a laundry list of characters and delving deep into each one. The movie stays focused on DiNorscio, as he attempts to defend himself in the courtroom against an infallible lawyer.

Director Sidney Lumet, responsible for Dog Day Afternoon and 12 Angry Men, is given the hard task of making a movie where the lion’s share of the movie takes place in a courtroom, the star of the film is primarily known for beating people up and most of the dialogue is taken directly from actual court testimony. Yet, he succeeds by balancing serious moments with humor and intense, dramatic scenes with subtlety and emotion.

Find Me Guilty

Starring Vin Diesel

Directed by Sidney Lumet

Rated R for strong language and some violence.

Stater rating (out of five): ????

The supporting cast does a fine job as well. Peter Dinklage gives one of the movie’s strongest performances as Ben Klandis, a midget lawyer who represented a member of the Lucchese Family, but also provided DiNorscio with advice and support. Klandis’ intelligent, smooth-talking performance plays well off of Diesel’s elementary, gravel-voiced character excellently and provides the movie with a strong relationship between two of the most interesting characters.

DiNorscio’s enemies such as Sean Kierney, played by Batman Begins‘ Linus Roache, a prosecutor who has it in for DiNorscio, and Nick Calabrese, played with underlying anger by Alex Rocco, thankfully, don’t fall into the cookie-cutter nemesis role by being over-the-top, but rather are unlikable due to their effortless hatred for DiNorscio.

Find Me Guilty finds its success in keeping things grounded and, much like DiNorscio, doesn’t take itself too seriously. It doesn’t want to be a pot-boiler courtroom drama or a feel-good film.

Much like Diesel, the film succeeds because it contains a quality that many movies are currently lacking – humanity.

Contact ALL correspondent Andrew Gaug at [email protected].