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Vin Diesel learns some dialogue and settles in for a change of pace in the courtroom movie Find Me Guilty. It’s based on a true story (and in fact much of the dialogue was taken directly from court transcripts), but it might have been better were it fictional and thus possible for them to work in a few shots of Vin Diesel punching jurors in the head.
In Find Me Guilty Diesel prances around court as Giacomo DiNorscio and pronounces himself a gagster, not a gangster. But Giacomo is in fact a murderous, coke dealing gangster and no matter how many wacky jokes he tells it’s a little hard to root for him to get off. But root for him is what this movie asks you to do. Giacomo is a lifetime offender; he’s spent most of his life in prison. He’s in again, this time on drug charges, when the police round up his entire mob (including their boss) under the newly enacted Rico laws.
With his gangland buddies headed to court, the cops put Giacomo in a suit to stand trial with them. Fed up with his lawyer, Giacomo insists on acting as his own attorney. He may only have a sixth grade education, but he makes up for it with charm. Can Giacomo’s hilarious personality win over the jury and convince them to set him and his killer buddies free in spite of the mountains of evidence against them? Wait a minute, do we want them to be set free? Just because he tells a few dirty jokes and loves his daughter doesn’t make Giacomo any less a killer. Find Me Guilty seems to gloss right over that little fact. The guy is a brutal murderer, part of a conspiracy to rip people off and intimidate them. A few jokes don’t redeem him, or his Italian buddies.
With or without those speed bumps, Find Me Guilty still isn’t a winner. Almost all of the movie takes place in a courtroom, and is as a result, kind of boring. Vin turns in a really solid performance as Giacomo, and the great Peter Dinklage shows up in a supporting role as one of the other gangsters’ lawyers. But good acting or not, I need more than ninety minutes of speeches to justify buying a movie ticket. That’s all the movie really is, and the material is probably better suited for ninety minutes of basic cable television than it is for a big screen, theatrical presentation.