The Thin Blue Line| Review

An Errol Morris film is like no other. He has a style all his own but still manages to feel familiar, perhaps due to his wide range of influence. His use of interviewing people is infamous for its unique approach to story-telling. One of the most extreme cases of this is Vernon, Florida, one of many masterpieces from Morris. Every single one of his films is about something incredibly unique and interesting, whether a pet cemetery or The Cold War.


The film tells the story of the murder of a Dallas, Texas police officer in 1976. An officer walks over to a car he had just pulled over only to be shot to death. A fellow police officer fires at the car but it successfully gets away with the suspect unidentified.


The Thin Blue Line is like the Un Chien Andalou of film. It uses the common tropes of its genre but creates something entirely new in the process. Nowadays, documentaries sometimes film reenactments of events. Before 1988's The Thin Blue Line, this idea was nowhere to be found. Just as Bunuel did with Un Chien Andalou, Morris completely reshaped the standard of filmmaking. Alongside the influence Morris brought to film, his unique attention to detail is incredibly evident. Every last detail has its own individual purpose for the complete story. The story almost brings a sense of film noir. The blend of investigators and femme-fatales are all tropes, among others, of film noir. It seems as though Morris noticed this since he explored more of that aspect of the investigation and showed clips of past noir films. Apart from the other directorial choices he made, the framing of the reenactments feels like the work of a master. He shows just the right amount of information in each frame that the audience doesn't fully understand the answer to the question, even though it's laying right in front of them. The cinematography and other technical aspects are all excellent, though I noticed one mistake in the sound design. Errol Morris definitely crafted this film with his own unique vision to the fullest. I still consider Gates of Heaven my favorite documentary, but this masterpiece is an extremely close second. This film is most definitely one of the best documentaries out there.

Time Stamp: August 2020