Vin Diesel is known for his many action roles – XxX, Riddick, and The Pacifier – oh, wait, maybe not The Pacifier. But, in his latest film, Find Me Guilty, you see Vin in a totally different light – a dramody.
He plays convicted mob member Jackie DiNorscio in the longest court case in New York history – just over 650 days. It’s the true story of how Jackie defended himself while the rest of his 20 ‘family’ members had high-powered lawyers on their side.
I stated earlier, you’ll see Vin differently; that’s because he’s overweight and has hair. Vin gained about 30 pounds, of fat, and sat in the make up chair for over 2 hours so fake hair could be placed on his head. The transformation really puts Vin in that right mood to play this character.
Jackie was a jokester; in the court room, he made sure the jury related to him. He didn’t care that the prosecution was trying to make him look bad. As Vin stated in a recent interview, “It’s real simple at the end of the day; he was there on trial where the objective by the prosecutor was to expose how inhumane they all are, and all he really did was expose how human they all are. He was revealing the humanity of everyone, through humor, through his own experiences, through anecdotes that the jury could relate to in one way or another.” And Vin put all his heart and soul into developing that humanity, it truly shows
Find Me Guilty is written and directed by the legendary Sidney Lumet, the same person who directed one of the most famous court room films of all time, 12 Angry Men. If you’ve ever seen that movie, you know the angles used are perfect. Sidney had that dead on in this film, and in addition, he had the use of color. In an opening scene of the movie, one of Jackie’s cousins visits him at his house. The kitchen is bright and vibrant; then, up in the bedroom, the floral patterns on the wall brings out the humanity and normalcy of Jackie.
They also shot the film in New York; to make it more authentic, Sidney auditioned 300 extras himself and used a setting that made Vin more comfortable. Diesel got his start in this business as a New York theater actor, so going back to his roots was only natural. Vin even says he felt so comfortable shooting this film.
A stand out performance is from Peter Dinklage; he plays one of the other lawyers representing another mob member on trial. Just on sheer appearance, Peter makes an entrance on screen; he knows how and when to deliver his lines. The interactions between him and Vin are infectious; you know Peter’s on his side, even without him saying so.
The real Jackie passed away during the production of the shoot. All the cast and crew used his spirit to go on and complete the film.
If I had one complaint, the film is a bit too long; but, if Sidney was going for the feel of a 650 day trial, I got it. But this film is a great look at this trial and the story of Jackie Dinorscio.
Find Me Guilty opens in theaters on March 17th; it’s rated R. It also stars Ron Silver as the judge during the trial.