Some strong sequences in the end (one for sure made the film famous) but for most of the time, lazy direction and quite a disappointment in comparison with the absurd reputation of the film (some would say best documentary of all time, really ?!). Looks more like a good TV film, where Benning with "Landscape Suicide" offers you Cinema.
Clearly a big influence on true crime stories on TV, except a much more artistic and well made version of that genre of reality show. It's surprising seeing this type of moviemaking outside the realm of fiction films. There's a kind of artificial artistry in the recreation scenes that would initially seem to be out of place in a documentary, but in the end works to the films advantage.
This documentary focuses on a random, rather run of the mill whodunit mystery, but it gains some serious power through an early use of testimonies woven with repetitive cutaways to the reenactment. Beautifully shot and scored, it's so different from any other documentary or crime thriller...gripped me from start to finish.
What I think is amazing is that during the process of making this the director really didn't know what went on that night of the crime. While he's offering possible scenarios and interviewing the people involved though, he got closer and closer to the truth. Great documentary, nice performative and formal aspects to it. Must see documentary.
The intricate vile forces of justice and life have never really been as much apparent as exposed by Errol Morris in this groundbreaking film. The mechanics of it are very complex and serve perfectly to the reconstitution of the case. Nice Phillip Glass soundtrack.
I recall having been quite won over by the VHS tape of Morris's game-changer when I was in my early teens, but seeing it now in the luminous Criterion high-def transfer has sent a current through my whole being. This would have to be pretty high on the list of cinematic milestones since 1890-whatever - no film better represents what any good Nietzschean would call a "confluence of forces." Stunningly edited.