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The Thin Blue Line

Films will always hold a special place in the hearts of individuals. This is true not only for filmmakers but also for many avid and loyal movie goers. More often than not the audience tends to identify themselves with the characters that are shown on the big screen. Films has a psychotherapeutic effect wherein the public can readily relate to the events and scenarios that are presented. Indeed, films can be best described as a reflection not only of social truths but also of the individualistic experiences of each and every enthusiastic film aficionado.

Given this situation, films tend to go beyond their entertainment purposes. They mirror and depict the different facets of reality otherwise taken for granted or ignored. Regardless if a certain film is based on fact or fiction, the underlying messages are disseminated in one way or another. The motion picture The Thin Blue Line, for instance reflects the brutal reality behind Due Process. The documentary film entails the murder of Dallas law enforcer Robert Wood through a series of interviews from people involved in the case (Morris, 1988).

Throughout its progression, the film explains how the ideals of Democracy allegedly function and how it creates an impact on the lives of ordinary citizens (Morris, 1988). Initially, the film appears to be a presentation with a court room drama feel, but the underlying sociological context enables the general masses to witness the real drama brought about by the moral excesses of the Dallas state laws. The Thin Blue Line also slowly brings out the emotion of injustice as expressed by Adams himself. Furthermore, Morris was successful in vindicating a man battered and bruised by the supposedly infallible laws of man.

The final shot of Morris’ masterpiece, wherein the focus was on the tape recorder, profoundly captured reality in its purest form since it held the key to the ultimate solution of the case. Morris simply allowed the object to speak for the true events regarding the inefficiency of the United States judicial system, particularly, the state of Texas criminal justice system. Much of the incompetence is attributed to the shallow implication that the real murderer (David Ray Harris) cannot commit something vile as killing someone due to the innocent nature of his juvenile age (Morris, 1988).

The film blatantly bequeaths that the “Rule of Law” led prosecutors and Texas law enforcement bureaus to believe a constructed reality that age is a justifying factor as to why an individual is not capable of committing a heinous crime. Likewise, as far as Thin Blue Line and the concept of unaltered reality are concerned, the end part is highly capable of generating chilling effects. The actual confession of the convicted criminal was recorded on tape and at the same time shown to the public (Morris, 1988).

The artistic yet revealing final events are rarely experienced by the audience in their everyday lives, therefore, once this scene was shown, it manifested the capacity to project reality in its unaltered form. On the other hand, with regard to the question on whether docudrama is far realistic than fictionalized depiction of the factual events, the simple answer would be a big YES. First and foremost, docudramas use real events and real characters from the said events. In The Thin Blue Line’s case, the film served as an aid in proving the innocence of a wrongfully accused and convicted individual.

Despite the fact that the the real killer was not put in to custody or brought to justice, justice was still served to the right person who deserves it. Morris also brought justice to an unjust issue simply because his representation captured all the angles of the story. Superficially, The Thin Blue Line may have looked like a piece of evidence contributing to Randall Dale Adams’ innocence, however the film also took the side of David Ray Harris and other personalities involved in the case.

The film sought the truth for the purpose by not being too biased or one-sided and for the sake of justice, and for attempting to tackle an issue of injustice that happens to several people. In addition, since documentaries like The Thin Blue Line present images, emotions, and actions in their natural state, the actual events were not kept secret to the public. This is in stark contrast to mainstream films that have been proliferating in several movie-houses wherein actual and sometimes historical events are fictionalized and modified for aesthetic purposes and financial gain.

The Thin Blue Line addresses the issue of reckless upholding of the criminal justice system. Ironically, the efforts of putting police officer Robert Wood’s death to justice turns out to serve injustice to another individual. Justice is blind, so as the saying goes, but the fault of a system in the name of justice resulting to the misfortune of a person is an unpayable debt, even by traditional sayings and beliefs. Reference: Morris, E. (Director/Producer). (1988). The Thin Blue Line. United States: Metro-Goldwyn- Mayer Inc.

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