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 »
This film was not made to be entertaining, as far as I can tell. That is not an indictment of the film; it is an indictment of the biggest reason people go to see films.
As I watched this film, I was transported into another place. I presume that place is where the filmmakers wanted me to go. It was not a "fun" or "exciting" place. It was simply a place where I could be and feel otherwise than I am and do right now.
I live within bicycle riding distance of the location of the events in this film, yet I got closer than I ever will to them through the craftsmanship of the filmmakers.
The music, the imagery, and the way the story was presented combined to provide me with a notable experience. This story is now part of me.
Thanks to the filmmakers.
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