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Based on 12 Reviews
critic reviews (10)
fan reviews ( )
  • 75
    San Francisco Chronicle

    At first I was irritated by what I felt were the unnecessary repetitions, but the film's final effect - for all its laughs - is a shocking reminder, as Adams says with resignation, that the lady who holds the scales of justice is blindfolded. [21 Mar 1988] show more

  • 100
    Mike Clark USA Today

    The most provocative miscarried-justice movie ever. [26 Aug 1988] show more

  • 100
    David Sterritt Christian Science Monitor

    A fact-filled study that's also a full-fledged work of cinema art. [2 Sept 1988] show more

  • 88
    Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times

    Morris' visual style in The Thin Blue Line is unlike any conventional documentary approach. Although his interviews are shot straight on, head and shoulders, there is a way his camera has of framing his subjects so that we look at them very carefully, learning as much by what we see as by what we hear. show more

  • 50
    Dave Kehr Chicago Tribune

    It is an intriguing subject, though so far all that Morris has brought to it is a combination of the morbid and the cruel; he needs to develop some sympathy, too. [16 Sept 1988] show more

  • 70
    TV Guide

    Actually a moody horror story disguised as a documentary, designed to make the viewer feel how arbitrary and fragile the world of law and society really is. show more

  • 100

    A mesmerizing reconstruction and investigation of a senseless murder. It employs strikingly original formal devices to pull together diverse interviews. show more

  • 100
    Desson Thomson Washington Post

    More like a waking nightmare than a docudrama. A true story of murder and justice evidently miscarried, wrapped in the fictional haze of a surrealistic whodunit, it will leave you in a trance for days. [2 Sept 1988] show more

  • 90
    Elvis Mitchell The New York Times

    Morris has fashioned a brilliant work of pulp fiction around this crime. [26 Aug 1988, p.C6] show more

  • 70
    Kevin Thomas Los Angeles Times

    Morris pulls off a genuine shocker to cap his film, but his method exacts its price. It takes fully a third of the film's 109 minutes to become involved in it, thanks to Morris' deadpan tone and the initially jarring effect of his intercutting between straightforward talking heads and his B-movie reenactment of the crime. [2 Sept 1988] show more

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