Friday, July 27, 2012

The Thin Blue Line

Release Date: 1988
Distribution Company: Miramax Films
Director: Errol Morris
Run time: 96 minutes
Seen on: FLIXe, Channel 170, also available on Netflix streaming

I have had The Thin Blue Line on my DVR since January and finally got around to watching it last week.  This film by Errol Morris recounts the murder of a Dallas police officer in November 1976.  The film combines reenactments with interviews.  The same scenes are reenacted several times during the documentary.  They are showed from different perspectives and with different information from witnesses.  This technique helped to illustrate the differing viewpoints and clashing information.

They do not list the interviewees by names during the film.  I found this to be an interesting and effective technique because it made you pay attention to what the person was saying, not who they are and how they fit into the puzzle.  It definitely made me focus more on the film.

It was somewhat disturbing hearing how it appeared that the cops and DA railroaded a conviction.  The film showed both sides of the story, but you could see what the cops and DA were wrong.  Some witnesses appeared unreliable, with suspicious motives or memory problems.

This is another case of how a documentary can create new interest in a case and effect the individuals involved.   I won't ruin it for you, but you can Google it if you are interested.

It had a great use of music.  The cuts between scenes are silent, almost like the film ends each time.  I had enjoyed Morris' techniques in the film Tabloid  and I am looking forward to watching Fog of War.  It has also been sitting on my DVR, so hopefully look for it soon.


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