Now this is a good movie. So far, it's the best one I've seen in 2016. Naturally, it's a documentary. But, still, it has all the twists and turns of a good thriller.
You want to know more? Keep reading.
Back in March of 1964, a 28-year-old barmaid named Kitty Genovese was going home to her Kew Gardens, NY home at 3AM. She is brutally attacked several times by some scumbag named Winston Moseley. Her screams pierced the cold night air. The eventual killing was in full view of a large apartment building. Allegedly, thirty-eight people heard or saw what was transpiring. Nobody helped. Kitty died.
This turned into a huge news story as it depicted New Yorkers at the time as mean and uncaring. The type of folks who didn't want to get involved. It perpetrated a stereotype that still exists to this day.
"The Witness," crafted by film maker James Solomon, connects us with Kitty's kid brother Bill. He's now in his 60s and in a wheelchair with no legs, a result of stepping on a rice paddy mine while serving in Vietnam. The events around his sister's death have dogged Bill for years and he sets out to uncover as much of the truth as he can find. His own family never even wanted to discuss it. Bill wants to know more.
This film chronicles Bill's fascinating journey. He goes to meet Kitty's neighbors (those still alive). Indeed, he learns that there were not really 38 witnesses. It was more like seven and discovers that the mis-facts came from some overzealous reporting by....wait for it...the New York Times. As a matter of fact, one of Kitty's friends did come down and essentially held Kitty's hand during her last moments.
Even though his other brothers are not as eager to find out more over fifty years later, Bill keeps on digging. He tries to interview Kitty's husband, Rocco, about their brief marriage. He declines and this ultimately moves Bill closer to the realization that Kitty was gay.
Bill goes through the channels of trying to connect with Winston Moseley in prison. He also declines but sends along his minister son, who mistakenly think that Bill is a member of the Genovese crime family. Bill eventually gets a letter from Winston, who basically dreams up some story that he was not Kitty's real killer.
Finally, to get a sense of what his sister felt on that night, Bill hires an actress to re-enact the scene exactly as it happened at 3 in the morning. Bill silently watches as his sister "is killed" all over again. As she lays bleeding in a vestibule, Bill connects with his own feelings of helplessness---lying in a rice paddy with his legs blown off.
The man's investigation is riveting. The film works as a mystery, a thriller, and a taut family drama as some of Bill's relatives wish he would give up the ghost. Indeed, you could not write such a terrific story. That's because it's as real and compelling as life itself.
This is a movie you need to see.
LEN'S RATING: Four stars.
Dinner last night: Kale chopped salad.