This week, Samuel Alito’s name has been in the news more time than the winter of 2006 when he was confirmed as a Justice on the Supreme Court. As the second appointment by President George W. Bush, Alito was more or less riding Chief Justice John Roberts’ coattails. And that was pretty much the last time he was of any importance save for a moment during President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address in 2010, he made a snide comment to himself that was caught by the cameras.
Alito wants to be Chief Justice of the Court so badly it makes his dick hard. And writing the opinion on the decision that will eventually overturn Roe vs. Wade is the closest he will ever get. He knows it. Roberts knows it.
For legal reasons, I’m sure, Alito’s name was left out of Sidney Lumet’s penultimate movie, Find Me Guilty, which was about the longest federal criminal trial ever. SPOILER ALERT!! Alito was the real-life prosecutor and lost it. In all fairness, it was later discovered one of the jurors had been paid off by the New Jersey Mafia outfits that it would’ve been a hung jury regardless. But no, it was an acquittal across the board.
The movie follows the infamous RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) trial of the United States vs. Anthony Accetturo, et al that lasted 21 months during the mid-1980s. Vin Diesel, with a full head of hair and a pudgy posture plays mobster Jackie DiNorscio, who was working for the Lucchese Crime Family through their New Jersey crew. DiNorscio was the only one of the 20 defendants who acted as his own attorney, even though he was nowhere near a lawyer.
The movie is mostly set in the courtroom as DiNorscio’s antics of joking, ill-temper and even self-incrimination become headaches for the other defendants, their lawyers, including Ben Klandis (Peter Dinklage), the chief prosecutor, Sean Kierney (Linus Roache), who is based on Alito, and the judge Sidney Finestein (Ron Silver). DiNorscio’s behavior gets so bad that many of the defendants fear it will result in an easy conviction for them all.
Mob boss Nick Calabrese (Alex Rocco), who is based on Accetturo, who led the New Jersey faction for the Lucchese, doesn’t remain quiet in his disdain for DiNorscio, even at one point threatening to kill him if DiNorscio mentions his name during a cross-examination again. But Finestein reaches a dillema. Kierney wants to remove DiNorscio but it since it is a RICO case, Finestein has to keep him on. RICO is kind of a one for all and all for one. DiNorscio is also the only one of the defendants currently serving prison time for other unrealted charges.
Lumet blends comedy and drama. DiNorscio’s jokes that he’s not a gangster, but a gagster. He even manages to use his street smarts to catch experts and law officials off guard. And it’s obvious the jurors find him amusing.
Diesel manages to move past his Fast and Furious and Riddick action roles. This was released after the disappointment of The Chronicles of Riddick and before Diesel’s cameo in Tokyo Drift save the Fast and Furious franchise that was running on fumes by the third one. While Diesel has remained mostly making action movies since, you have to give it to Lumet to cast both him and Dinklage in these roles. Dinklage was just started to get some acclaim and better roles. Despite having to use a raised podium when he speaks to the jury, nothing is made mention about his height. Nor should it be.
The real-life DiNorscio died in 2004 during filming. I’m not sure Alito’s name wouldn’t have been known to anyone outside of law school. He’s probably glad the distribution was delayed until after his confirmation, because Kierney is a cocky prosecutor who thought he had a surefire case. Originally, he approaches DiNorscio hoping he will testify. But DiNorscio refuses saying he isn’t a rat. This will come back later in the movie, of course.
While it’s not as well known as Lumet’s other movies, such as Network, Serpico and Dog Day Afternoon to name a few, it shows that in his 80s, Lumet still had his touch. His last movie would be Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead released in 2007. Lumet passed away in 2011 at 86.
What do you think? Please comment.