The Thin Blue Line
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Not many filmmakers can claim to have freed a convicted murderer from jail, but Errol Morris accomplished that feat with his stunning documentary about Randall Dale Adams. Morris, whose brilliant previous features Vernon, Florida and Gates of Heaven had focused on less substantial subjects, learned of Adams' plight when the director was in Texas in preparation for a film about a psychiatrist who testified in murder trials. In November 1976, after his car broke down on a road outside Dallas, Adams had accepted a ride from a stranger, David Harris. Harris was driving a stolen car, and when Dallas police officer Robert Wood pulled the two men over to check on the vehicle, Harris shot and killed Wood. A jury believed that Adams was the killer, thanks to the perjured testimony of Harris and the misleading accounts of two witnesses. A story about Adams on 60 Minutes helped to bring public attention to the case, but it was Morris' film, which contained extensive interview material with both Adams and Harris as well as stylized reenactments of the crime, that clinched the case for Adams' innocence. He was set free on March 15, 1988. Although Morris' film made many critics' top ten lists, it was unaccountably not nominated for an Academy award, raising doubts about the credibility of the Motion Picture Academy's nominating process in this category.
a perfect ten
This is how documentaries are meant to be made. The cinematography was beautiful, the score emotionally cold and haunting, and it is edited so sharply that by the end, no questions are needed. Not to mention, the societal impact this film had (in re-trying and releasing wrongfully accused Randal Dale Adams) has made it a truly pivotal and unique piece of journalism. It does not disappoint on any level, period.
One of the greatest documentaries of all time.
simply one of the all time greatest documentaries ever made. the film exposed truth along with being artistic, cinematic, informative and beautiful. just a truly recomended film.
A Fabulous Movie that All Should Watch
I first watched this movie in college 14 years ago. It touched me the first time I watched it. It was my introduction to documentary films and solidified their importance in my life. The movie is wonderfully directed and cinematography is fabulous.
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- Genre: Documentary
- Released: 2005
- © 1988 Third Floor Productions. All Rights Reserved