American Tragedy (2000) starring Ving Rhames, Ron Silver, Bruno Kirby, Darryl Alan Reed directed by Lawrence Schiller Movie Review

American Tragedy (2000)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Ving Rhames in American Tragedy (2000)

DTI: Defence Team Investigation

I remember back in 1994 when even the news in Britain was infatuated with the unfolding drama in America as police followed O.J. Simpson in his car after he failed to turn himself in following the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. And whilst I never watched any of it I remember the case was televised in fact I remember hearing some statistic somewhere that when the verdict came through so many people stopped working that it costs hundreds of millions of dollars in down time.

Now having admitted to having never watched any of the court case I suppose that makes me not the best person to review "American Tragedy" as it is all about the trial and I couldn't tell you how true it is to what happened or how accurate the performances from the likes of Ving Rhames, Christopher Plummer and Ron Silver are. Yet what I will say is "American tragedy" is an utterly fascinating drama about what might have happened behind the scenes during this high profile case.

Ron Silver in American Tragedy (2000)

Now for me there are three elements to "American Tragedy" with one of those being the power struggles which went on behind the scenes. We see how early on Simpson had Robert Shapiro in charge and then Johnnie Cochran was brought on board and there came a point where according to this movie Cochran manoeuvred to take control of the Defence team. It is interesting to see how these lawyers were cutting deals for themselves behind the scenes to be in charge and involved in the case.

Then there is the more interesting aspect which is the dramatization of the actual courtroom scenes and we see the jury selection, the testimonies and so on. And like all courtroom dramas there is something simply interesting and entertaining watching lawyers do their job in the courtroom, putting on a show and trying to outsmart the opposition. This side probably will appeal to those who were glued to the case and it is suggested in "American Tragedy" how hooked the public were on watching the televised court case.

But for me the most interesting aspect of "American Tragedy" is the work of the defence team in working through the evidence from the blood splatters, the sudden appearance of a bloody sock, poor procedure when it comes to the blood work and so on. It is genuinely fascinating to watch as they pour over the evidence until they find the weakness in it. And that is the other interesting thing as seeing how this high profile team also looked at the smallest of detail when it comes to presenting the case right down to which version of a bible verse to use.

What this all boils down to is that "American Tragedy" is an entertaining look at what might have happened behind the scenes during the high profile O.J. Simpson case. But it is most interesting purely as a look at how a team of lawyers handle evidence and witnesses, looking for the flaws in it and what words to use to state their case.