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The Thin Blue Line is a fictitious documentary film that tries to bring into viewers’ attention the complexities of being a human. As screen written and directed by Error Morris, the film starts with the one of the main characters Adam in jail, where he has been jailed for eleven years after being convicted guilty and sentenced to death. (Ronnie D. Lankford 3).
Based on a sensational subject of the shooting death of a police officer, the movie surprisingly is not as sensational. As any audience would expect, that the shooting of a police officer will generate a sensational turn on scenes to an interesting, and emotional movie, “The Thin Blue Line” is a masterful piece of work which is more informative than entertaining. The film reveals a hidden universe by giving all persons or characters involved – judges, criminals, witnesses and police officers – a chance to talk and even to talk more. In a very transitional way, the viewer is introduced into the surreal world of the accuser, David Harris, and the accused, Randall Adams. The viewer also gets introduced into a small town justice system, Texas (Ronnie D. Lankford 4).
Fully aware of what happened and recalling the details that resulted into the crime he is being convicted guilty of, he tries to create a totally different impression all together. Adam seems a little dull and incapable of artifice. Harris is a totally different character. He is extremely difficult to read, and certainly talks a good line. He seems not perplexed by the series of events that had unfolded into this crime. He describes the killing of woods rather dispassionately. One would think of it as a slightly surprising event that just occurred and happens to be a usual occurrence. He describes the event as if it were not a morally reprehensive crime. Only the police seem to believe him, others don’t. Adams defense team initially thought that Harris was the one who committed the crime. They pointed fingers into his criminal record and other climes behind his history, and especially on the night of murder. Harris conversation intrigues his doom. This is especially highlighted by his smooth and casual approach. It seems like his later murder crime did not leave a noticeable change on him. He never at one time appears to be hardened by being on a death row (Ronnie D. Lankford 7).
In a turn of events, a number of later interviews added into the evidence seem to point away from Adams as the killer. Amazingly, these people agreed to talk, something they would not have done if they had seen the outtakes. Their ads on the evidence offer personal tidbits that are entertaining, sad and odd. For instance Judge Metcalfe fascinates the audience when he talks about his father. He describes him as an FBI officer who was present on a similar scene when John Dillinger was killed. These interviews bring the story forward while at the same time examine a cross section of a small Texas town.
At the time of its release in 1988, “The Thin Blue Line” hailed as a new kind of documentary, as one type that gives a room for multiple points of view. These different views seem to bring truth each in a different perspective and seeming to be true in their own way, without resulting into confusion. However, the story line remains clear. This is for the reason that the story line remains clear with the provided evidence and the chosen footage leading the viewer into a certain conclusion which may vary from another viewer’s point of view.
In some instances, the film turned dramatic, almost violating the “documentary” standards. However, the dramatizations of some images in slow motion give the lyrical symbols highlighting the realness of the film. With time well distributed according to the characters’ role and significance. The film happens to be a meditation on characters that live within the society, either psychologically or economically, only happening to meet in a bizarre story. Without this, the characters and the story would fall apart.
“The Thin Blue Line” proves to be more profound than a self-consciously political film can be. Being a non-fiction film, it reveals the injustice which does not seem to be so surprising. The film reveals eccentricities and treats them as normal. This is demonstrated by how Morris has revealed each character, leaving the viewer with a deeper understanding of human being complexities. Adams defense attorney adds a touching feeling when he quits his profession due to his negative experience with the Adams’ trial. The judge also obsessively worried about his own vindication in this case proceedings.
The film reveals to the audience that sensational stories need not be told in a sensational way. The good thing about this movie is that it does not keep reminding the viewer on what conclusions to draw. On the other hand, all that is required is telling the customer the right story, including a few characters with a shake in it, and giving them ample time to listen to them and draw their own conclusions (Ronnie D. Lankford 7).
The film contained re-enactment scenes built carefully from witnesses' statements, which became common in later documentary. Although the film recreates several versions of the shooting, it does not recreate one in which David Harris shoots the officer, the interpretation which it argues is true.
The Thin Blue Line film actually presents two plots. Through the construction and ordering of the non-linear story Morris presents, he reveals an easy-to-follow narrative implicating Harris instead of Adams, not unlike the story that implicated Adams in the first place, because it presents an easy-to-believe retelling of history.
The most challenging part of this documentary film ”The Thin Blue Line” its failure to resolve a casual plot, referencing certain details about the case that were presented but remain unanswered, for example at the night of the criminal offence where was Adam. Furthermore at the end of the documentary film acasual plot was completely abandon and return to suggest that Harris was the perpetrator. To suggest the author could not meet the affirmative postmodern work because of its failure to conceptualize past events within. In short, reveal through the clouding of history a present challenge, that of resisting the lure of a narrative and fulfilling “their sworn duty to convict only in the absence of reasonable doubt.
Relating this with the postmodern challenge, openness without restrain of reason, and tolerance capable of rejecting all moral absolutes are mandatories of postmodern ideology. This also involves gaining a clear and growing consensus in popular culture. Just like the Christians face unique challenges as they seek to communicate the gospel in a compelling way, this is the similar case in delivering judgment in this case, the Adams defense team also is disillusioned by appearance and fails to successfully defend him. It is therefore important to reconsider the mentality that “it seems true to me for the reason that I believe it” before giving a conclusion.
The botched murder case from the thin blue line by Error Morris documentary film can also be used to describe “the postmodern challenge.” From the two frames used for bringing his argument in the mind of the viewer -and understand the turn of events-, casual and linear are the main plots. These plots put across the framing up of the defendant by the police force and by the prosecutors. As a shadow counterplot, nonlinear and a causal, raises doubt on the defenders innocence. This also questions the credibility of the representation order. Morris tries to be truthful and real to the real complexity of human conduct. When assessing individual accountability, chance and necessity are vital and must be reckoned.