This compelling documentary details the strange-but-true murder trial of Delbert Ward, accused of the mercy killing of his brother in rural upstate NY. This real-life murder mystery won the Audience Award at Sundance.
This documentary by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky details the murder trial of Delbert Ward. Delbert's of a family of 4 brothers (the other 3 being Roscoe, Lyman and William - Bill, for short), working as semi-literate farmers, and living together in isolation in a ramshackle shack, until William's death. The subsequent police investigation and medical examiner's autopsy suggested Bill may not have died from natural causes, and Delbert was arrested on charges of second-degree murder. Under questioning by police, Delbert appears to have waived his rights and signed a confession, but, it seems he might not have been competent, and was coerced into doing so. The film explores possible motives for the crime, from mercy-killing (Bill was ill at the time), to progressively more outré hypotheses. It also shows how residents of the rural community of Munnsville, NY rallied to the support of one of their own (residents previously considered the Wards as social outcasts), against what they ...Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
Picked by Entertainment Weekly magazine as one of the "50 Greatest Independent Films" in a special supplement devoted to independent films that was only distributed to subscribers in October 1997. See more »
From the opening quote from the Book of Genesis about Cain rising up and smiting Abel to the very end sequence, this is not an easy film to watch.
The story of the Ward Brothers in rural New York received national media attention.
Adelbert (Delbert) Ward was accused of murdering his brother William. Questions of euthanasia, incest and just being tired of William's needs are brought up.
But the question arises: Was he railroaded by a legal system looking for an easy answer and a prosecuting attorney up for re-election?
The abject terror of Lymon Ward when he was on the stand is sickening and horrifying to watch.
The townspeople that rally around Delbert and raise the money for his bail in about 20 minutes, even though they have little to spare themselves and don't really know the reclusive Ward brothers is more than just heartwarming -- it is astounding.
The "Boys" (as the townspeople call the Ward brothers)are not really particularly liked by the townspeople who see them as strange, dirty and retarded.
But, whatever they may be they are THEIR strange, dirty and retarded fellow townspeople.
It is not fair to tell you how this movie ends -- you will simply have to see it for yourself.
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