Citizen Verdict review

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Sensationalist producer Marty Rockman (Jerry Springer - now there's a stretch) has an idea for a sure-fire ratings winner: real-life murder trials played out on TV with the audience phoning in the verdict. Find the accused guilty, and they can watch the execution on pay-per-view.

Tough governor Tyler (Roy Scheider) is all for it, especially as the first case is the murder of a much-loved TV chef by a young lowlife. Liberal attorney Sam Peterson (Armand Assante) is roped in for the defence, with ice-maiden Jessica Landers (Justine Mitchell) as prosecutor...

It's a scary, plausible set-up, more so given the current US political climate, but it's let down by some inept scripting and direction. Writer/ helmer Philippe Martinez rams every satirical point home with a sledgehammer, right up to the botched ending. And the executions themselves are played out in gloating detail, leaving the film culpable of the very voyeurism it's supposedly attacking.

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