User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 13 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 13
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 13
  3. Negative: 2 out of 13
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  1. PatC.
    Mar 4, 2004
    10
    With neither frills nor flaws, this compelling documentary convincingly exposes how our justice system, with the best of intentions, can at times be the paragon of irresponsibility - not because it is staffed by corrupt mean people but simply because laziness and lackadaisical ambivalance are bred in people who have been granted immunity for their actions. One may have concluded sometime With neither frills nor flaws, this compelling documentary convincingly exposes how our justice system, with the best of intentions, can at times be the paragon of irresponsibility - not because it is staffed by corrupt mean people but simply because laziness and lackadaisical ambivalance are bred in people who have been granted immunity for their actions. One may have concluded sometime in one's life that it is the duty of the occasional good citizen in our society to serve as arbitrary scapegoat so that justice in general can preserve at least an illusion of order and security. That conclusion is true. In the end this movie, like the system it evaluates, refuses to take a stand. Though the truth is obvious, the one shred of doubt (that the obvious may not be true and the innocent man should stay convicted) must prevail, just to play it safe and in the interests of judicial economy. Such matter-of-factness permits only one conclusion: Injustice is not an aberration, a nightmare quirk. This is what the system does, it does it all the time, and it will continue to do so, because mankind simply does not have the wherewithal to design and implement a foolproof justice system. We have placed our faith in a system that itself deliberates on and commits felonious acts in its normal course of business. But we call it justice in support of the cops who are the thin blue line between us and anarchy. Collapse
  2. KeilS.
    Dec 7, 2005
    10
    This is investigative filmmaking at its finest. Errol Morris has crafted nothing less than an American classic. Forgive the hyperbole, but it's honestly justified in this particular case. See this one as soon as possible.
Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 12 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 12
  2. Negative: 0 out of 12
  1. 50
    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]
  2. 88
    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.
  3. Reviewed by: Hal Hinson
    60
    Other documentarians before Morris have smudged the distinction between fact and fiction. But here the smudging seems almost irresponsible, and you may feel yourself wanting to fight against the conclusions that Morris comes to, not because they're incorrect, but because there's the chance they were come to unfairly. [2 Sept 1988]