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Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> July 2000 >> The Thin Blue Line

The Thin Blue Line

Movie Commentary by Scott Ventura


Scott's Rating:
5 / 5
Times Seen:
Viewing Date:
July 2000
IMDB Name:
Thin Blue Line, The (1988)
Errol Morris
MPAA Rating:


It's difficult to watch The Thin Blue Line. I have never had a movie impart such a sense of helplessness while watching it. In it, director Errol Morris describes the murder of a police officer and the trials that sought to solve the case. Unfortunately, this is a case that because of strange legal wranglings can never have a happy ending. If you believe Morris's arguments, the wrong man is behind bars for the crime. Randall Adams is now serving a life sentence. That's a little better than the original death sentence, but not much consolation. Morris is absurdly persuasive in his presentation of the material, including a few reenactments of that night in Dallas. He's so persuasive that I wonder if he didn't bias the material, if only because that wondering represents hope that justice was not misserved this poorly.

Near the end of the movie, I was hoping that Morris had presented the film up to that point to some of the people involved so they could see the havoc they'd caused so that maybe Randall Adams could be free again. No such luck. The devastating last segment, made all the more incredible by it's presentation, is the ultimate downer. This is a documentary as powerful as they come, but be ready for it. Fast, Cheap & Out of Control will not brace you for it in any way.

Update: Adams Long Since Freed!

I have been informed by several readers (and confirmed with a tiny bit of research) that Randall Adams made it out of prison after the release of Thin Blue Line. Losing twelve years of his life is still a tragedy, but the film probably packs a lot more impact if you don't know that he isn't still behind bars.

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