×
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.

Popular on Variety

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

  • So Long, My Son directed by

    Wang Xiaoshuai's 'So Long, My Son' Earns Six APSA Nominations

    Chinese drama, “So Long, My Son,” was nominated in six categories for this year’s Asia Pacific Screen Awards. The unprecedented haul makes it a clear favorite. The Wang Xiaoshuai-directed drama about separation, secrets, a lifetime of regret, and the consequences of China’s one child policy, had its premiere in February at the Berlin festival. There [...]

  • Alan Rickman

    Film News Roundup: 'Galaxy Quest' Documentary Set for Release

    In today’s film news roundup, rescue drama “Not Without Hope” is back in development, a “Galaxy Quest” documentary is set for release, “The Two Popes” wins another award, and Ella Joyce gets cast. PROJECT REVIVED U.K.-based financing-production outfit Goldfinch has bought feature film rights to Nick Schuyler’s “Not Without Hope” and signed “The Fog” director [...]

  • Ryan Reynolds John Krasinkski

    Ryan Reynolds, John Krasinski in Talks for 'Imaginary Friends' Movie

    Ryan Reynolds and John Krasinski are in talks to board the fantasy comedy “Imaginary Friends” at Paramount Studios. Paramount recently won the bidding for the property over Lionsgate and Sony. Krasinski will write, direct,  produce and star while Reynolds will co-star if the deals go through. The story centers on a man who can see [...]

  • Willem Dafoe attends the "Motherless Brooklyn"

    Willem Dafoe Joins Guillermo Del Toro's 'Nightmare Alley'

    Willem Dafoe has closed a deal to join Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in Guillermo del Toro’s adaptation of “Nightmare Alley.” Collider had first reported that Dafoe was being considered for a role in the film, but sources now say the “Lighthouse” star has closed a deal to join the cast. The “At [...]

  • 'To the Ends of the Earth'

    Busan Film Review: 'To the Ends of the Earth'

    “To the Ends of the Earth,” the story of a young Japanese journalist’s experiences in Uzbekistan filming a report for a Japanese TV travel show, was originally commissioned to celebrate 25 years of cordial diplomatic relations between director Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s hyper-developed island homeland and the less affluent, landlocked Central Asian nation. As such we might [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content