Film Friday: Rendering “The Verdict”

I’m going to come right out and say it: Frank Galvin, the alcoholic, ambulance-chasing disgraced attorney at the center of The Verdict is probably one of my favorite cinematic litigators of all time. The film starts with Frank sitting in a bar, circling death notices before running out to funeral homes where he presses the flesh of the bereaved and forces business cards into their hands, fishing probably for the estate or a quick buck running down a wrongful death settlement, and then back to the bar. He’s a man who lives in a shanty apartment with a run down office and a fake secretary, and who hustles for a living. In one scene, where the opposing counsel is trying to get a feel for him, they say “He’s tried three cases in the last four years, and he’s lost all of them.” He is not treated by the film as a respected attorney.

But he is treated by the film as a fucking human, and it’s a role that lawyers rarely get to authentically play. So I love this goddamn movie.

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