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AA winner 'Murder on a Sunday Morning'

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Butch C, Apr 2, 2002.

  1. Butch C

    Butch C Second Unit

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    I just saw the Accademy Award winning Best Documentry 'Murder on a Sunday Morning' on HBO and all I can say is WOW!!!

    That slice of real life is more gripping, more suspensful, and packs more of a suprise ending whallop then 95% of all films ever made in Hollywood.

    Did anyone else see this? That AA was well deserved in my opinion.
     
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Yes, I also caught it on HBO and it was a fantastic documentary about this crime, trial and the legal system.

    Crawdaddy
     
  3. Rob Willey

    Rob Willey Screenwriter

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    Yeah, I saw it too. I thought it was very gripping.

    Three cheers for the jury for seeing through the shortcuts taken by the cops in their investigation and tacitly acknowledging how they had abused that kid's rights!


    Highly recommended.

    Rob
     
  4. VicRuiz

    VicRuiz Second Unit

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    Great piece, enjoyed it a lot. However, I don't think the ending was such a surprise.

    The prosecution had no case. A sketchy eyewitness ID from a 65 year old man, and a contradictory and obviously coerced confession. Not a single piece of physical evidence tying the defendant to the crime. Although convictions can be obtained with circumstantial evidence, it better be strong, and in this case it wasn't even close. It was clear the police had not investigated anything or anyone else, and there were numerous holes in their shoddy testimony. Great job by the defense team in shining the light of truth onto those holes.

    Why do you think the jury took only 45 minutes to return a verdict? That has to be some kind of record.
     
  5. Robin Warren

    Robin Warren Second Unit

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    I liked it a lot as well...one question though....

    The purse was found a few days after the murder with $1200 in it. Yet the cops had written down in Brents confession that he pocketed the money and went to feed his dogs after throwing the purse in the forest. I wonder why this was never brought up during testimony. Unless it was and just not included in the documentary.


    Fascinating documentary...
     
  6. Butch C

    Butch C Second Unit

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    The shock ending was

    that the public defender and not the police solved the crime and found the real killer
     
  7. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    I finally had a chance to sit down and watch this last night. If you've read this far, you probably know something about the film. So I'll skip any SPOILER tags.

    It's an extraordinary piece of work. I was especially impressed with the careful editing that intercuts the trial with the defense attorneys' investigation and preparation. Director de Lestrade made the smart decision to construct the film around issues in the case and not tie himself strictly to the chronology of the trial. This pays off beautifully in sequences like the one where he cross-examines the detectives about Brenton Butler's "confession". The two cops were probably questioned on separate days, and yet the editing allows you to see how carefully defense attorney McGuinness laid out the traps in examining the one detective that didn't snap shut until the second one took the stand.

    Vic Ruiz raises an important point. The jury had obviously seen through the prosecution's case long before deliberations began. And yet convictions have been won on evidence no more substantial than the initial case against Brenton Butler. What this film shows, in minute detail, is just how much work is involved in taking apart even a weak case, once the state has decided to bring all its efforts to bear on an accused. It took the detectives less than a day to put together a case that could have sent Brenton to jail for the rest of his life. It took Pat McGuinness and his colleagues days, probably weeks, of meticulous investigation and preparation, of which the film gives us many examples, to take that case apart.

    Yes, the film ends with an acquittal and the arrest of the real culprit. But the outcome was never a certainty, which is why the interview with McGuinness the night before he makes his closing argument is so poignant (he can't help but contemplate the possibility that he might lose). Take a good look at McGuinness' face after the jury verdict is announced. Unlike Brenton's family, he doesn't look jubilant; he doesn't even look relieved. He looks worn out and shaken by the knowledge that it took all his experience, energy and skill to prevent Brenton Butler from being sent away for something he clearly didn't do.

    M.
     

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