Critic Reviews

79

Metascore

Based on 12 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
More like a waking nightmare than a docudrama. A true story of murder and justice evidently miscarried, wrapped in the fictional haze of a surrealistic whodunit, it will leave you in a trance for days. [2 Sept 1988]
100
Christian Science Monitor
A fact-filled study that's also a full-fledged work of cinema art. [2 Sept 1988]
100
USA Today
The most provocative miscarried-justice movie ever. [26 Aug 1988]
90
The New York Times
Morris has fashioned a brilliant work of pulp fiction around this crime. [26 Aug 1988, p.C6]
88
Chicago Sun-Times
Morris' visual style in The Thin Blue Line is unlike any conventional documentary approach. Although his interviews are shot straight on, head and shoulders, there is a way his camera has of framing his subjects so that we look at them very carefully, learning as much by what we see as by what we hear.
75
San Francisco Chronicle
At first I was irritated by what I felt were the unnecessary repetitions, but the film's final effect - for all its laughs - is a shocking reminder, as Adams says with resignation, that the lady who holds the scales of justice is blindfolded. [21 Mar 1988]
70
Actually a moody horror story disguised as a documentary, designed to make the viewer feel how arbitrary and fragile the world of law and society really is.
60
Other documentarians before Morris have smudged the distinction between fact and fiction. But here the smudging seems almost irresponsible, and you may feel yourself wanting to fight against the conclusions that Morris comes to, not because they're incorrect, but because there's the chance they were come to unfairly. [2 Sept 1988]
60
Chicago Reader
The larger considerations and film noir overtones detract too much from the facts of the case, and what emerges are two effective half-films, each partially at odds with the other.
50
Chicago Tribune
It is an intriguing subject, though so far all that Morris has brought to it is a combination of the morbid and the cruel; he needs to develop some sympathy, too. [16 Sept 1988]

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