Monday, April 3, 2017

The Witness (2016) USA

A brother's quest to learn the other side of the crime.

Documentary, Biography, Crime, Mystery.

Approximately 4-minute read.

     My last documentary film was a couple of Oscar nominees that I saw before the award ceremony. I'm not that into documentaries compared to the feature films I watch on the regular basis, but time to time I try if I get interested after learning what it's all about. Likewise, I found this one, though it is not a science or nature theme that I usually prefer than anything else. I have enjoyed many murder mystery films, but this one is a documentary. So I wanted to know the experience of watching the real story with real clips and interviews of real suspect, witnesses and what the victim's family says about it.

     This was about one of the America's most talked crime of the previous century. It took place 50 years ago, on 13th March 1964. A young woman was murdered where nobody came to rescue her. So after all these years, the younger brother of the victim, who was a very young boy then did not remember much of the event and following incidents, is now trying to investigate and if possible to get a new perspective of that dreadful day. His journey begins in search of truth.

     Like any documentary films, it started off without notifying us what's going on. But very soon the basic information revealed. Bill Genovese, who is on the wheelchair tells us what he little knows about his sister Kitty. Then the focus goes back to the day she was murdered. She was alone on the street, but there were plenty of eyes that witnessed from a nearby apartment building when a man approached Kitty and what followed was a horror. No one came forward, otherwise an innocent soul would have been saved.

 For years, I avoided the details of that night, because they were just too painful, but it's worse not knowing the truth. 

     After debating about the crime like the motive to commit it, the film right away turns its all focus on what's wrong with those who saw it, but failed to do anything. Bill meets some of the witnesses and gets their perspective. The stories of how they saw it and how they reacted to it. Unfortunately, many of them are passed away as it was a half a century old incident. Bill, as well as the filmmakers tried their best to get useful and fresh info, but the investigation did not go anywhere as we expect in a feature film.

     The sad part of this film is there's barely any original clips, except a few personal archive footages of the victim. Because CCTV cameras were not found anywhere near the crime scene like todays world, not even 911 was existed. They say, this crime was one of the reasons to implement the 911 concept. The incident impacted the US big, to fight crime after many debates to introduce many other precautionary measures. This topic was also used for the college thesis and other researches. So basically it changed the system that America began to fight back.

     It was an outrageous event, but this film lacked something. Like I said the visuals, how that night would have looked like. They should have recreated it, instead revealing everything orally. Particularly the same event described by different people who witnessed it, that was this film's notion than the crime as the title hints. So pretty much succeed in its quest, along with Bill, who led his one man research team. As a documentary film, it is a fine product, but nothing like the feature film's murder mystery. So don't go for it with such expectation other than eager to learn the truth in a realistic way. So, recommended, but only for the selected audience.

Suitable for:
Tween, Teen, Adult, All

Final verdict:
Ignore, Bad, Average, Good, Excellent

Similar movies:
Taxi to the Dark Side, The Imposter, The Act of Killing.

External link(s):

WCA geolocation:
Right now we're in

No comments:

Post a Comment