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Essay example - The Thin Blue Line: the thin difference between truth and lies and its impact on justice

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Masters
Essay
Journalism & Communication
Pages 6 (1506 words)
On November 28, 1876, Dallas Police Officer Robert W. Wood approached a car to inform the driver that his/her lights were out. As he came near the driver’s window, the driver shot him five times. The police charged Randall Adams for the murder of Wood, an allegation that was largely based on the testimony of sixteen-year-old drifter David Harris…

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The Thin Blue Line is a documentary on this crime, where director Errol Morris shows different testimonies from both the prosecuting team and their supporters and the defendant’s team and their supporters, so that the viewers themselves can determine who truly killed Wood. In this film, Morris deviates from the usual features of a documentary and uses a non-narrator approach and a dramatic technique, so that he can depict the thin blue line between appearance and truth, a line that can either result to justice or injustice.
Morris diverges from the usual norms of documentary films and follows an expressionistic rendering of the testimonies. First, in this film, a clear narrator does not exist, and instead, Morris relies on his viewers to digest the testimonies fed to them, so that they can ascertain the truth. He prefers to call his film a “non-fiction feature” than a documentary.
The viewers become the narrator, because they have to sift through the material of testimonies provided to them. Chapman believes that this self-reflective nature of the film helps viewers to find the truth. Second, the film is constructed using dramatic techniques. Williams asserts that Morris abandoned “cinema verité realism” for “studied, often slow-motion, and highly expressionistic re-enactments of different witnesses’ versions of the murder”. These re-enactments define the difference between the truth and biases. ...
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