UNDERGROUND USA: INDIE CINEMA OF THE 80s - The Thin Blue Line (w/ Producer Mark Lipson in person!)

A landmark of the essay film genre, Errol Morris’ portrait of a puzzling murder case sounds on the surface to be a work of investigative documentary, but is really a much more experimental film – an evocative blend of fiction and journalism, interviews and artful reenactments (the infamous milkshake, for example), and packed with more questions than answers. At the time of filming Randall Adams has already been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of a Dallas police officer, but as the film unfolds, Morris accumulates material that suggests that any thinking person should question this conviction, and instead take a harder look at the young man with Adams at the time, David Harris. This Kafkaesque, Philip Glass-scored reverie reimagines the crime and its aftermath, elegantly elucidating the inexactness of the criminal justice system. Morris’ condemnation of the course of events is strong, subtle, and historic – Adams’ conviction was overturned by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, in no small part due to the publicity surrounding the film’s release.

Dir. Errol Morris, 1988, HDCAM, 103 min.