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8.3
/10
2,136 Ratings

The Thin Blue Line

Directed by Errol Morris
United States, 1988
Documentary, Crime, Mystery

Synopsis

The controversial true story of the arrest and conviction of Randall Adams for the murder of a Dallas policeman in 1976. Billed as “the first movie mystery to actually solve a murder,” the film is credited with overturning an unjust conviction.

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The Thin Blue Line Directed by Errol Morris
For those viewing this canonical film today, the challenge is to recognize the many levels on which it was a radically disruptive force that defied numerous assumptions about documentary as a mode of expression and ultimately reconfigured our understanding of what constitutes nonfiction audiovisual practices.
March 26, 2015
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The Thin Blue Line remains a landmark in Morris’s oeuvre because it revealed and corrected a flawed judicial process—a phenomenon that Morris says could not have happened if the film were released today, as not only are Supreme Court death-penalty cases notoriously more difficult to appeal, media saturation wouldn’t have allowed Adams’s story to remain quiet for so long. Though that may be true, it doesn’t quell the significance of cinema as a catalyst for change…
December 11, 2013
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This brilliantly stylized documentary… is as stringently fatalist as Edgar G. Ulmer’s Detour, as bizarrely artistic as the dream sequences of Murder, My Sweet, as convoluted as Out of the Past, as tense as the original D.O. A., and as sui generis as Morris’s earlier films… The Thin Blue Line can be construed as an attempt to create linguistic and visual models for some unknowable reality, to find human equivalents for those majestically indifferent laws that govern the universe.
August 30, 1988

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