Picks and Pans Review: The Thin Blue Line
For a riveting film experience sure to send you reeling, try Errol Morris' docudrama about the 1976 murder of a Dallas cop. Late one November night, officer Robert Wood stopped a car for traveling without its headlights on. Wood was shot five times and killed. A month later, 16-year-old David Harris—with an extensive criminal record—was arrested after boasting to pals that he had killed Wood. Taken into custody, Harris fingered Randall Dale Adams, 27, a hitchhiker he had picked up earlier. Adams, with no criminal record, was sentenced to death for the murder. Morris' film reexamines the case, using photo montages, diagrams and a half-dozen reenactments of the crime from various points of view, augmented by an eerie Philip Glass score. Morris interrogates most of the parties involved, including Harris—now in a Texas prison awaiting execution for another murder. In a chilling death-row interview, Harris all but clears Adams of killing Wood. To date, Adams, whose sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, has been denied a new trial. Morris' neutral approach to his previous documentaries (Gates of Heaven, about a pet cemetery, and Vernon, Florida, about a small beach community) hardly prepares for his passionate involvement here. With The Thin Blue Line, Morris means to grab and shake an audience. That he does. (Not rated)
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: The Time of My Life!
- 45 Pages of Oscar!
- The Pistorius Trial: Why Did He Kill Her?
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine