×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Scenes of a Crime

The absorbing and provocative docu deploys some 10 videotaped hours of intense and often bizarre interrogation footage to document a seemingly routine police investigation spinning absurdly out of hand.

With:
With: Adrian Thomas, Adam Mason, Ronald Fountain.

Far removed from the rat-a-tat repartee of a scripted TV procedural, the absorbing and provocative docu “Scenes of a Crime” deploys some 10 videotaped hours of intense and often bizarre interrogation footage to document a seemingly routine police investigation spinning absurdly out of hand. As they did in their 2003 debut, “A Certain Kind of Death,” helmers Blue Hadaegh and Grover Babcock borrow liberally from the Errol Morris nonfiction playbook; as imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, it would be a crime if the pic didn’t earn fest and tube slots.

Late on a September 2008 evening, a man named Adrian Thomas walked into an interview room at the Troy, N.Y., police station. Though he was suspected of beating his infant son to death, the pair of detectives assigned the case readily admit they didn’t know how the child had died, but didn’t want to risk losing the man they perceived as the prime suspect. To that end, they browbeat the apparently mild-mannered Thomas to the point where he signed a confession and collapsed in exhaustion.

Relying primarily on the key passages from the two-part interrogation, Hadaegh and Babcock use this shocking visual evidence as a springboard to explore a link in the chain of American justice that is little understood, largely unregulated and dangerously abused. In interviews with the blustery and defensive detectives, players in the subsequent trial, experts in the field and, ultimately, Thomas himself, a series of twists and surprises muddy the waters even further.

Tech package is smooth and stylish, balancing the crude, fixed-camera interrogation footage with animation that underscores the oppressiveness of the rooms that encompass the scenes of this chaotically managed and far from conclusive crime.

Scenes of a Crime

Production: A New Box production, presentation. Produced by Blue Hadaegh, Grover Babcock. Directed by Blue Hadaegh, Grover Babcock.

Crew: Camera (color, HD), David Elkins, Brian Mulchy; editor, Robert DeMaio; sound, Michael Kowalski. Reviewed on DVD, Sydney, June 23, 2011. (In SilverDocs Film Festival -- Silver Spectrum.) Running time: 88 MIN.

With: With: Adrian Thomas, Adam Mason, Ronald Fountain.

More Film

  • 'The Apollo' Review: A Legendary Theater

    Tribeca Film Review: 'The Apollo'

    You should never take for granted a documentary that fills in the basics with flair and feeling. Especially when the basics consist of great big gobs of some of the most revolutionary and exhilarating popular art ever created in this country. Roger Ross Williams’ documentary “The Apollo,” which kicked off the Tribeca Film Festival on [...]

  • Playwright Mark Medoff author of "Children

    Mark Medoff, 'Children of a Lesser God' Playwright, Dies at 79

    Mark Medoff, the playwright who wrote Tony Award-winning play “Children of a Lesser God,” died Tuesday in Las Cruces, N.M. He was 79. His daughter Jessica Medoff Bunchman posted news of his death on Facebook, and the Las Cruces Sun-News attributed the cause to cancer. “Children of a Lesser God” starred John Rubinstein and Phyllis Frelich [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Interscope Films Relaunches With Full Slate at Tribeca (EXCLUSIVE)

    The Interscope record label’s interest in film/music crossover isn’t exactly a secret: With hit companion albums for “A Star Is Born,” “Black Panther” and “La La Land,” they’ve seemed to own the soundtrack space at times in recent years. And the company hasn’t completely made a secret of its desire to move into film production. [...]

  • Avengers: Endgame

    'Avengers: Endgame': Fans and Theaters Assemble for Biggest Marvel Movie Ever

    For San Diego resident Shawn Richter, “Avengers: Endgame” is more than the conclusion to a monumental period in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As the West Coast branch chair of Avengers Initiative, a cosplay charity that raises money for causes like the Ronald McDonald House Children’s Charities, the comics of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby are [...]

  • Jillian Bell appears in Brittany Runs

    Amazon's 'Brittany Runs a Marathon' Sets Summer Release

    “Brittany Runs a Marathon” will be rushing to theaters on Aug. 23. Amazon Studios dated the comedy on Wednesday. The pic, starring Jillian Bell (“Rough Night,” “22 Jump Street”), won the audience award at the Sundance Film Festival. The flick follows the titutal Brittany, who decides to run around New York City in order to [...]

  • Lionsgate Hires Lynn Whitney in Marketing

    Lionsgate Hires Former Warner Bros. Exec Lynn Whitney

    Lionsgate announced Wednesday that Lynn Whitney will become head of worldwide paid media, partnerships, promotions and consumer products. Whitney was formerly the executive VP of worldwide media at Warner Bros.   In her new role, Whitney will build out media campaigns for movies like Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron’s romantic comedy “Long Shot.” “I am [...]

  • El silencio de otros

    Film Review: 'The Silence of Others'

    “Forgiven but not forgotten” is a platitude we routinely use to end disputes both petty and grievous, but it’s the reverse outcome — the mass forgetting of crimes and conflicts never truly resolved — that itches away at a post-Franco Spain in “The Silence of Others.” Soberly chronicling the ongoing legal battle of General Franco’s [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content