out of Five
Running time: 98
Reactionary, inept and appalling in every conceivable way, this is a strong contender for the worst film of the year.
Citizen Verdict is, under no circumstances to be confused with Citizen Kane. Or The Verdict. Or even Citizen Ruth for that matter. It is, without doubt, one of the worst films ever made.
Jerry Springer plays notorious reality TV producer Marty Rockman, whose new TV show, involves an actual murder trial in which the viewers are the jury. In order to spice things up a bit, he also promises to televise a live execution in the event of a guilty verdict.
Poor old Roy Scheider plays the tough-on-crime Florida politician who gives the project the go-ahead and Armand Assante plays a defence lawyer who takes the gig because of his crippling alimony payments. Or something.
This is utter rubbish from beginning to end. It has possibly the worst
acting ever seen on the big screen (Assante’s ex-wife is the biggest
offender) and the supposedly twisty plot makes no sense at all. Springer’s big Shouty Scene (“I’m MARTY ROCKMAN!”) at the end is good for a few laughs but otherwise, the film’s only mildly redeeming feature is that it takes the piss out of American news presenters.
Sadly, Scheider’s conviction at the end that “the system would have worked, but you (Marty) got too greedy and did it wrong” shows that the film isn’t even intended as a tongue-in-cheek satire.
In short, the verdict is: avoid like the plague.