This movie didn’t just start a new wave of crime documentaries, it also proved to a nation that a man, falsely accused and incarcerated, was innocent of murder. Watching it now, you would probably recognize the form of it. It shows crime reenactments for the first time in a documentary, something that became very popular in mainstream TV for quite a bit afterwards and I think there’s still about a million CSI shows, both documentaries and fictional. None of which would exist if not for this movie. It took real interviews and used a combination of actors and great editing to make a very interesting to watch documentary. The first of its kind.
It also has some pretty good music, something it really didn’t have to do. Though some documentaries do have a score that stands out, I think here it does a good job of emphasizing scenes and stands out.
Something else I like is that it puts the audience in the place of a detective. It shows us going through the case and discovering things as they do. We’re all uncovering a mystery, but what’s really impressive is that it was all true. Not only that but someone was wrongfully imprisoned and we all got him out together. That’s pretty cool. Something those investigation shows can’t do. I guess something like this was a once-in-a-lifetime subject to film.
It also does a good job of showing corruption in the US justice system in certain circumstances.
Why you should watch it before you die: If you’re a fan of true-crime documentaries you should definitely check it out. Not only was it the first, it was probably the best of its kind.
+7.5: a very compelling documentary
+1: freed an innocent man from life in prison