|Index||4 reviews in total|
This film is an effective retelling of the tragic event that took place in
late November, 1978, in San Francisco's City Hall -- an event that sent the
city into turmoil. Using re-enactments of the murders as well as comments
from some of the real people who were affected by the tragic deaths, the
film gives us a view into the mind of Dan White. Like Lee Harvey Oswald,
White was a mixed up and misguided person. Outwardly an "all-American boy,"
he evidently was incapable of deep thought and self-control.
I found the film a bit like JFK in its elaborate reconstruction of the crime and its foreboding atmosphere. The murders and the suicide are tragedies that play out like something from a Greek drama. This is a surprisingly well-done TV movie.
Tim Daly is surprisingly adept at playing tortured, ruined ex-City Supervisor Dan White who, in November 1978, shot and killed San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and fellow supervisor Harvey Milk in their offices. Daly, who also executive produced for Showtime, is careful not to build an apologia for White; instead, he allows us to see the pressures which erupted and quickly boiled over in White's conflicted life, with money woes hindering him, real or imagined betrayals haunting him, and the fear of failure chipping away at his hard-working-American exterior. I didn't care for the roller-skating voice of Gay Truth who makes several appearances, and the courtroom scenes are a bit lax, but the film's docu-drama approach is absorbing and commendable, and the teleplay fills in a lot of gaps surrounding this case which are not otherwise well-known.
Well done all round. Intelligent, well-paced script. Tim Daly does a fine portrayal of a "regular, All American boy" about to crack up. There's no overblown emoting, no crazy movements - simply a darkening mood his face steadily adopts. It's a winner on cable.
Generally well done as this is, the TV production of "Execution of
Justice" is a far departure from Emily Mann's play on which it is
supposedly based. Ms. Mann's script is actually a collage of quotes
from news reports, speeches, and trial transcripts following White's
assassination of Milk and Moscone.
The TV production takes place largely around the lives of both Harvey Milk and Dan White. It takes the usual liberties with actual details (whereas the original play was extremely factual), but essentially gives a good overview of the events and pressures leading to the double murder.
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