The movie ‘A Thin Blue Line’ is quite a sensational movie in a non-traditional sense in that it reveals the hidden world by letting the characters involved talk about this world. The movie investigates the murder of a police officer, Wood. Harris gives his account of the story, claiming that his friend Adam shot at the officer on their way home. Adams, on the other hand, claims to know nothing about the murder. Local police and members of the public believe and support Harris’ story, leading to the conviction of Adams.
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This film is regarded as groundbreaking in the field of movie art in the manner that it portrays the injustice of society and other eccentricities in the view of complexities within the human being and not outrightly right or wrong predicament.
The director uses Adams’ flashback to provide dialogue in the movie, which pulls the viewers into the storyline. Through the dialogue, the viewer hears of a convicted man, who persistently proclaims his innocence. This way, the director portrays Adams as a representation of the many victims who spend their time behind bars for crimes they did not commit. These victims are used as scapegoats for local authorities for their wrongdoings and incompetence in fighting crime.
The most outstanding feature about the movie as a crime investigation movie is that it offers multiple platforms on which the various characters express their views regarding the murder without causing confusion. Through the multiple interviews and flashbacks, the director ensures that the evidence is given and the footage of the movie leads the viewer to make an informed conclusion about the crime. Besides providing evidence for the case, the interviews offer some form of entertainment to the movie through the personal tidbits of the various characters. Through the interviews, the viewer is able to continue with the storyline as well as get a glimpse of the situation in the small Texan town.
Morris, the director of the movie, offers an unconventional approach to the making of the documentary movie. He shoots the interviews with his respondents straight on the head and shoulders. He, however, frames his camera in a way that the audience looks at the subjects directly so that they learn as much from the interviewees as they hear from the interview, thus offering clearer insight on the evidence being sought. Besides the interviews, Morris uses appropriate reconstructions in the murder of Wood.
These include the car without headlights, the pursuit by police officers, the victim approaching the wood, the behavior exhibited by the police officer, and the slow-motion manner in which the milk-shakes flow, falling on the body of the victim. The director uses other images in order to lead the viewers into a definite line of evidence for the murder. The director challenges the audience to determine the truthfulness of Harris’ account of the story by showing them incongruent pictures of places and time, which discredit Harris’ account of the story. The movie further shows photographs of Harris’ troubled childhood through the display of guns and newspaper headlines among others.
This footage is shown in a rhythmically repetitive manner to create a pattern in the mind of the viewer regarding the central story. This strategy serves to create a movie that fuses between drama and documentary, which creates the illusion of an Adam that was taken away from his life into a conviction of a crime that he might not have committed.
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The movie reveals the rot in a country’s justice institutions, yet regards them as normal events by lacking the element of surprise. Morris reveals the character of each actor and through these actors reveals the complexities of human nature. Morris reminds other filmmakers that they do not have to tell sensational stories in a sensational manner or guide the audience into drawing certain conclusions. Filmmakers need to get the characters involved by giving them plenty of time to tell the story on their terms.