Big question: Vin Diesel stars as Giacomo ''Jackie Dee'' DiNorscio, a real-life, middle-aged mobster who used wisecracks to defend himself during the longest mafia trial in U.S. history. Can an actor who usually sounds like he gargles with glass convincingly portray a criminal that's more affable than angry?
Catch it: "Find Me Guilty" is a surprisingly compelling and delightful courtroom drama that resists turning its "Hey, yous guys" crooks into complete caricatures. Spunky and entertaining, it's a smart and multi-layered movie about the humanity of a gangster and the persuasive influence of humor.
Skip it if: You've been selected for jury duty in a high-profile case. You won't be happy to hear this trial lasted nearly two years.
Bottom line: As Jackie and his cronies stand trial, director Sidney Lumet expertly makes you feel like you're on the jury. You know these guys are guilty but can't help but be won over by Jackie's infectious charm. To claim that this is Diesel's best performance isn't saying much, but, your honor, it's the truth.
Bonus: At one point, Jackie looks around a lunchroom of his friends, none of which make room for him to sit. It goes to show even mobsters sometimes act like high schoolers.
'Find Me Guilty'
Directed by Sidney Lumet; screenplay by Lumet, T.J. Mancini and Robert McCrea; cinematography by Ron Fortunato; production design by Christopher Nowak; music by Jonathan Tunick; edited by Tom Swartwout; produced by Bob Yari, Robert Greenhut, George "Zakk" Vitetzakis, Mancini and Bob DeBrino. A Yari Film Group release; opens Friday. Running time: 2:04. MPAA rating: R (for strong language and some violence).
Giacomo "Jackie Dee" DiNorscio - Vin Diesel
Ben Klandis - Peter Dinklage
Sean Kierney - Linus Roache
Judge Finestein - Ron Silver
Nick Calabrese - Alex Rocco
Bella DiNorscio - Annabella SciorraCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times