The tragic and controversial story of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was executed in Texas for killing his three children after scientific evidence and expert testimony that bolstered his claims of innocence were suppressed.
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The film takes place in Texas. Cameron Todd Willingham is accused of triple killing of his children killed in a fire. The man denies his guilt and claims that he loved his daughters more than life. However, the court sentenced him to death. For eight long years, Cameron has been on death row, and soon he will be executed. His business is interested by Elizabeth Gilbert, who all her life leads an implacable struggle with the system.Written by
During one of Elizabeth's visits to Cameron in prison, he states that his parents would never visit because it was a one way trip from Oklahoma of 1200 miles. That is near double the actual mileage from anywhere in Oklahoma to Huntsville. See more »
Cameron Todd Willingham:
Thanks to you, I have tried to make my peace. You showed me that love is always there if you just open yourself to it. You helped me to learn to enjoy the simple blessings of being alive.
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"Trial by Fire" is based on David Grann's 2009 New Yorker article of the same name and it dramatizes the tragic and controversial story of a case against the death penalty - by focusing on the real-life ordeal of a Cameron Todd Willingham, man executed in 2004, weeks after the emergence of definitive evidence attesting to his innocence.
Willingham is played by Jack O'Connell, who gives a very good performance. He was able to capture the man's initial naivety about the severity of these charges and gradually show a maturity which would have naturally occurred over the years he spent in prison. Laura Dern joins the film halfway through, as a playwright-turned-activist for whom this case becomes an obsession and who works to have his conviction overturned. The two parts, his and hers, never quite successfully merge on screen, though the few scenes the actors have together work nicely.
"Trial by Fire" is an intriguing, often hard to watch and surely not entertaining motion picture. As a film, it is is a tough but worthy reminder of the illusion of fairness in real life and that justice is not always served.
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