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Thin Blue Line - Research Paper Example

Adams had been in jail for seven years following his conviction for shooting Robert Woods, a police officer in Dallas, to death. Although the sentence had been commuted by the time of the interviews, Adams was still in prison and still maintained that he was not guilty of the murder. After Morris started researching Adam’s case, he was soon convinced that he was innocent and that it was clear who was responsible for the murder (Lankford 1). He, thus, turned his documentary efforts to building Adam’s innocence case. The Thin Blue Line was the result of these investigations, and it soon became a standard for investigative documentaries. It became a triumph of execution, more interesting than exploration of crime and consequence, and it has been influential on fiction and documentary films since. The Thin Blue Line by Errol Morris does not seek to tell the story of an investigation into a murder but is a murder investigation, which set investigative documentary standards. Morris captures the attention of the audience by making the documentary as a considered defense through interviews with both Randall Adams and the key witness in his case, David Harris (Bellizzi 1). He manipulates the Harris interviews to show that he is the only person who could have killed the Dallas police officer. Morris, throughout his entire documentary, reveals clues by letting the witnesses, judges, police, and criminals talk on and on. By doing this, Morris places the audience in the world of Harris, Adams, and the justice system of a little town in Texas. It seems as if Morris edited various scenes, as well as interviews, to show the story, as he wanted; which was that Harris was the guilty one and that Adams was not. He allows the story’s arc to move forward by using the interviews, whereas also, at the same time, examining some residents of the Texan town. This documentary differed from other documentaries at the time because it showed various viewpoints. Yet, even with these multiple viewpoints, Morris uses particular footage, and evidence, leading the audience on to a specific conclusion (Bellizzi 1). The Thin Blue Line has a basic construction that was deceptively conventional, specifically looking back to how profound its influence has been on subsequent documentaries (Bellizzi 1). Morris weaves three basic strands together, which widely increased the standards of documentary making. Firstly, those participating in the documentary to the cameras give the narrative’s core. These people in the documentary include the judge from the first trial, Adam’s lawyer, various eyewitnesses in the shooting, police members who investigated the case, the key prosecution witness David Harris, and Randall Adams. Secondly, the documentary pioneered the use of real and documentary evidence, including line-up photos and mug shots, court reporter illustrations, reports from newspapers, and diagrams and photos from the crime scene (Bellizzi 1). The documentary also had an influence on staged re-enactments in subsequent investigative documentaries. The filmmaker utilizes re-enactments in order to highlight the vital parts of his interviews, as well as important facts, to show the audience what he considered as being important to the inference chain (Rivera 1). In a particular scene, he reenacts Turko getting out of a police car, whereas throwing away his milkshake. The reason he reenacted the scene was that it showed the discrepancies that existed ...Show more


Name: Instructor: Course: Date: Thin Blue Line Errol Morris came across the subject for The Thin Blue Line when he was doing research for another much broader subject. While doing his research into a documentary on psychiatrist Dr. James Grigson in 1985, he came across the case of Randall Adams (Lankford 1)…
Author : davisdell
Thin Blue Line essay example
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