Seeing the very good 2004 doc Some Kind of Monster a few years ago on Metallica's ego trip during the making of their terrible "comeback" album,I was interested to find out that directors Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky had done True Crime docs. Making a note of their other work,I was pleased to recently see their feature debut doc appear on Netflix UK,which led to me meeting the brothers.
The outline of the doc:
After being ill for a number of years,William Ward dies on the family farm in a small town. The farm has been in the Ward family for generations,with the barely literate family members Roscoe/Lyman and "Delbert" Adelbert all living there. At the scene where William is found,Delbert gets accused by the police of murder.
View on the film:
Filming on the Ward farm for over a year, co-directors/co-editors Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky introduce their "Direct Camera" documentary style,with extended takes following the Ward's trying to keep the everyday life on the farm going,as Delbert's murder trial approaches. Respectful to the rural lifestyle,the makers oddly decide to score the title with cliché banjo music,which sounds completely ill-fitting to the professionalism being shown by the makers. Keeping their opinions to Delbert being guilty/ not guilty to themselves, Berlinger and Sinofsky subtly capture the contrast between the rustic,small-town community of the Ward's,with the slick, pristine presentation of the TV crews,the cops and the lawyers,who enter the town to find out who is the brother's keeper.
This documentary by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky details the murder trial of Delbert Ward. Delbert's of a family of 4 brothers (the other 3 being Roscoe, Lyman and William - Bill, for short), working as semi-literate farmers, and living together in isolation in a ramshackle shack, until William's death. The subsequent police investigation and medical examiner's autopsy suggested Bill may not have died from natural causes, and Delbert was arrested on charges of second-degree murder. Under questioning by police, Delbert appears to have waived his rights and signed a confession, but, it seems he might not have been competent, and was coerced into doing so. The film explores possible motives for the crime, from mercy-killing (Bill was ill at the time), to progressively more outré hypotheses. It also shows how residents of the rural community of Munnsville, NY rallied to the support of one of their own (residents previously considered the Wards as social outcasts), against what they ...
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July 20, 2015 at 10:02 PM