The Exonerated

Contrary to the empty thrills of most horror movies and their ridiculous premises, sometimes real terror happens to people who find themselves wrongfully accused and convicted of heinous crimes. Some even pay with their lives, as director Bob Balaban presents in this 2005 film.

This is not a conventional movie; there’s no recreation of events or outdoor photography. Six people who were victims of our legal system speak up about their ordeal. Portrayed by popular actors Susan Sarandon, Brian Dennehy, Danny Glover, Aidan Quinn, Delroy Lindo, and David Brown Jr., and using as reference court documents, depositions, testimonies, and letters, they tell their stories in such a convincing way that by the end you forget they are some of Hollywwod’s best who have made you feel the anguish and pain of the characters they just portrayed.

Among the six cases presented, there’s the story of Gary Gauger (Brian Dennehy), a white man accused and convicted of double homicide. The victims? His own parents. His case was a typical one of police incompetence and lazy investigation.

With dropped jaws, you’ll watch how the overpowering shadow of injustice robs and sucks the life out of those whose only crime was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Their helplessness at being unable to prove their innocence at the time they were accused is an unnerving, eye-opening, and sobering experience to watch for many who once believed, in a naive way, the words: “….and justice for all.”

See also Susan Sarandon in: In the Valley of Elah (2007), Anywhere But Here (1999), Mussolini and I (1985).

See also Brian Dennehy in: Gladiator (1992), To Catch A Killer (1992).

See also Danny Glover in: Shooter (2007), Pure Luck (1991), The Color Purple (1985).

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