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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Crime > Justice > Racism > Law > The Trials Of Darryl Hunt (THINKFilm/HBO Documentary)

The Trials Of Darryl Hunt (HBO Documentary)


Picture: C+     Sound: C     Extras: C+     Documentary: B



The cry of racism is always shouted down by those who don’t “want to be bothered” or don’t care who for whom the term may hit too close to home.  It is even worse on an institutionalized level and many real-life stories continue to prove that in the U.S., there is too often a two tier system of justice.  There is that for the rich who can afford it and poor who cannot.  A very interesting, sad and expansive example is that featured in the new Ricki Stern/Anne Sundberg documentary The Trials Of Darryl Hunt (2007) about a young black male who was framed all around.


In the typical reactionary result of a story where a white woman is raped and killed by a black man, “justice” becomes “suddenly” aggressive and goes into “action” to find the “guilty” resulting in a “swift” arrest.  The result here was that Darryl Hunt was grabbed, rushed through trials without all the evidence being present, an all-white jury was manipulated (if not worse) to rule against him and in jail he went.


Of course, this would not have been made if he turned out to be guilty, but the difference between past such stories and this one is that the system was stubborn (Reagan era and otherwise) plus DNA was still being written off as “an uncertain science” like so many other fact-producing technologies that are beyond circumstantial evidence tend to be shot down as.  It is ironic when one of the lawyers nervously does the same here, sounding tellingly nervous.


It is as much about the character of Hunt, which is amazing, as it is about the media and legal system.  The case ran from 1984 to 2004, a lifetime of change.  It makes us realize how we are manipulated until truths are exposed in both facts and the way certain individuals operate.  We have much work to do to make our legal system live up to its potential of justice for all.  The Trials Of Darryl Hunt is the kind of well-rounded journalism that can lead the way.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image is of varied quality, as the disclaimer at the beginning explains, but the editors have done a good job of fixing the rough material as much as possible.  Editing is also impressive.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix spreads out the audio and much of the older audio is rough monophonic recording, though some newer interview audio can sound compressed.  Extras include additional interviews, making of featurette and trailers for this and other HBO DVDs.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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