The Exonerated (2005)
Six Degrees of Injustice
If someone offered me free tickets to watch a play at a theatre involving characters sitting on chairs in the dark only lit by spotlights taking about how they ended up on death row I would in truth probably turn it down because it isn't my sort of thing. Or shall I say I didn't think it was my sort of thing till I sat down to watch "The Exonerated" with little knowledge of what it was about prior to putting it on. Within minutes I found myself hooked on what for all sense and purpose is a play on film with people sitting on stools talking about their experiences when it comes to ending up on death row because of injustice.
Now with that in mind I am going to say right off the mark "The Exonerated" is not going to be for everyone as if what you need is visual drama and action to be entertained you might find yourself easily distracted. And whilst we see moments in their stories dramatized they too are dramatized as if part of a play, as if a spotlight suddenly shines on a part of the stage and we see a scene such as a judge refusing to reject evidence before the light dims and we are back to the character. As I said it isn't going to be for everyone but it is seriously effective and you find yourself becoming highly focused on these stripped bare stories.
Now part of the reason for this is that each of the true stories we hear are fascinating and take you through feelings of anger to being moved. The writing which it says comes from the actual words of the real people it is based on is first rate and every word has the natural aspect that it feels like it has come from real people rather than crafted over by writers.
But it is also the calibre of actors who they have got which makes this movie because when you have the likes of Susan Sarandon, Danny Glover, Aidan Quinn, Brian Dennehy, David Brown Jr. and Delroy Lindo you have a lot talent. But these actors are masters of the monologue, they have ways to say things which draw you in and subtle mannerisms, subtle looks which along with faces which tell a story makes you listen and watch every minute. When you watch Delroy Lindo retell his story the look on his face, the smile and they way his eyes seem to be searching create this very real and very interesting character.
What this all boils down to is that "The Exonerated" is not for everyone as it is very much a play but in movie form with people against a blackness speaking and acting with their mannerisms rather than serving up slices of drama on sets. But for those who are happy to try something different I am sure will find this an eye opening experience with not just great actors but 6 great stories of injustice.
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