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The Thin Blue Lie

Rob Morrow , Randy Quaid    R (Restricted)   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Most helpful customer reviews
Format:DVD
Frank Rizzo made a stamp as Phildelphia mayor in the 1970s; he cleaned the streets of crime in a way Rudy G. could have only dreamed in New York. But how he did it -- well, people whispered, and police carried big sticks. Not unlike the LAPD of the mid-90s, the force spiraled out of control, feasting on violence and hubris, removing lines so it didn't have any to cross.
The Phildelphia Examiner exposed the brutality, won a Pulitzer Prize, and stopped Rizzo's runaway train before he could change the city charter and run for a third term. "The Thin Blue Lie," a painful title, revisits the time and chronicles the reporters (Rob Morrow and Randy Quaid)who busted the story. The camerawork is a little cheap and the soundtrack is little too omnipresent, but the movie's a quick, dirty, 90-minute pleasure for a lazy day.
Morrow is a go-getter and new in town. Quaid is the good-natured newsman who wants to get his two stories a day and go home. As usual, the go-getter reveals the good natured sort as a victim of blind apathy, and the two combine forces, so to speak, to ferret out brutalized victims, as well as a [tough] cop who likes to go to work on suspects with a pair of handcuffs. There's even a lifesized white rabbit involved.
Morrow has the arrogant...schtick down cold. And Quaid broadens his range. Paul Sorvino has a cup of coffee as the tantrum-throwing Rizzo. Aside from G.W. "Proctor!!!" Bailey -- longtime "Police Academy" villain -- the supporting clan are actors I don't know, but have sufficiently big 1970s hair.
I like newspaper movies, usually because they're based on true stories -- aside from the ludicrous "The Pelican Brief" -- and because they cover familiar-yet-enjoyable ethical questions.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Newspaper Thriller! April 3 2004
By A Customer
Format:DVD
If you like fast-paced thrillers that rely more on brains than brawn, this one's for you. Based on the true story of a pair of newspaper reporters in Philadelphia during the Bicentennial, it is in the vein of great films like Watergate. Jonathan Neumann (Rob Morrow) arrives in town to find prisoners routinely showing up in court with all sorts of painful bruises. When he questions why, he's told it's "jailhouse lawyering", where prisoners get together and beat each other prior to their appearances in court then claim police brutality, just to get their arrests thrown out. The problem is, from what Jonathan sees, none of the arrests are being thrown out. So he begins to suspect it is something more. In the end, he goes up against the most powerful man in Philadelphia, the former police chief and now Mayor, Frank Rizzo. It is a really exciting and thought-provoking film, with great camerawork,lightning and directing.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Newspaper Thriller! April 3 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
If you like fast-paced thrillers that rely more on brains than brawn, this one's for you. Based on the true story of a pair of newspaper reporters in Philadelphia during the Bicentennial, it is in the vein of great films like Watergate. Jonathan Neumann (Rob Morrow) arrives in town to find prisoners routinely showing up in court with all sorts of painful bruises. When he questions why, he's told it's "jailhouse lawyering", where prisoners get together and beat each other prior to their appearances in court then claim police brutality, just to get their arrests thrown out. The problem is, from what Jonathan sees, none of the arrests are being thrown out. So he begins to suspect it is something more. In the end, he goes up against the most powerful man in Philadelphia, the former police chief and now Mayor, Frank Rizzo. It is a really exciting and thought-provoking film, with great camerawork,lightning and directing.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable enough straight-to-video journalism tale March 3 2003
By Samuel McKewon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Frank Rizzo made a stamp as Phildelphia mayor in the 1970s; he cleaned the streets of crime in a way Rudy G. could have only dreamed in New York. But how he did it -- well, people whispered, and police carried big sticks. Not unlike the LAPD of the mid-90s, the force spiraled out of control, feasting on violence and hubris, removing lines so it didn't have any to cross.
The Phildelphia Examiner exposed the brutality, won a Pulitzer Prize, and stopped Rizzo's runaway train before he could change the city charter and run for a third term. "The Thin Blue Lie," a painful title, revisits the time and chronicles the reporters (Rob Morrow and Randy Quaid)who busted the story. The camerawork is a little cheap and the soundtrack is little too omnipresent, but the movie's a quick, dirty, 90-minute pleasure for a lazy day.
Morrow is a go-getter and new in town. Quaid is the good-natured newsman who wants to get his two stories a day and go home. As usual, the go-getter reveals the good natured sort as a victim of blind apathy, and the two combine forces, so to speak, to ferret out brutalized victims, as well as a [tough] cop who likes to go to work on suspects with a pair of handcuffs. There's even a lifesized white rabbit involved.
Morrow has the arrogant...schtick down cold. And Quaid broadens his range. Paul Sorvino has a cup of coffee as the tantrum-throwing Rizzo. Aside from G.W. "Proctor!!!" Bailey -- longtime "Police Academy" villain -- the supporting clan are actors I don't know, but have sufficiently big 1970s hair.
I like newspaper movies, usually because they're based on true stories -- aside from the ludicrous "The Pelican Brief" -- and because they cover familiar-yet-enjoyable ethical questions. Morrow's character is confronted by other reporters who make it clear Rizzo's regime lets them safely walk the streets at night. Morrow hasn't been around long enough to know the difference. In that detail, you sense how complacent a newsforce can become in the wake of a powerful leader, and how a fresh pair of eyes can see the injustices others have let fall through the cracks.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I had to watch this for understanding July 25 2006
By Daniel Hayes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I grew up in a police officer's home in Philadelphia during the 1970's. My father I'm sure while he didn't condone this felt that once a criminal always a criminal was the rule of thumb, so even if the people were innocent of one crime they were always a criminal because of any prior offenses. I am always grateful to Mayor Rizzo because he helped my older brother get into a private housing place in Berwyn because he was autistic, and the special school in Philadelphia closed down.I certainly don't condone using psychological torture, or bluffing criminals into a confession. To quote Mayor Rizzo in this movie:"Drastic Times Call For Drastic Measures." I feel that this certain time in history seems to be where the values of the country were certainly coming undone, and laws were being created to favor criminals over the law, but like us the cops are certainly under the same umbrella, and including Mayor Rizzo, and that's the only thing that a man/woman have that they can really call their own is their values, and when they're sold out there's nothing left. I can now certainly see why Rizzo didn't win the mayoral race in 1987, but the mayor in 1987 didn't deserve to win either as he pulled a Rizzo out of the hat by attempting to round up a bunch of criminals called the MOVE family he dropped a bomb on the bunker of the house, and caused a whole row of homes to go up in flames, and therefore a bunch of innocent people would suffer, and yet the mayor was overwhelmingly voted again for a second term. Well it seems as though the citizens of Philadelphia had a vision of seeing a black man who was the mayor in 1987 succeed, but however, zealous Mayor Rizzo had a vision too, and that was a city that was with low crime, and unfortunately, both visions were made reality through costs, and values were disposable with the intent that they could easily be picked up again, and cleaned off, but once sold out the values are meaningless because it's always going to be the dark stain, and it won't go away easily. As I said I had to watch this movie for understanding because I grew up with this, and even though my father didn't particpate in this it leaves a dark stain on all the honest police officers anyway. Overall it was a rather stark movie, but in some way I wish it was never told because it felt like an attack on my life because it was my father's paycheck that put me through school, and now it's made me question was it worth it? I ask because I certainly don't want people who get arrested to get hurt just to get a confession out of them even though they may be innocent. I feel that for a police officer that the only recourse is to think like a criminal to do his job, but not to necessarily become like one.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slight lack of integrity by the film's writer/producer Feb. 3 2012
By Professional Investigator - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
It's unfortunate that the story's author found it expedient to write that his hero-reporter began exposing police torture and framing of innocent people by solving the racially motivated arson murder of a Hispanic family in Philadelphia. The true facts of that case, which was actually solved by ATF special agents, are detailed at length in a book titled "Very Special Agents" by James Moore (Pocket Books, 1997; reprinted by the University of Illinois Press, 2001).Reporter Jonathan Neumann did write about this case for Philadelphia newspapers but all of his facts came from ATF reports and the trial of homicide detectives convicted of framing the man they accused of the crime in order to please their superiors and protect a local politician. As a result of the ATF investigation, the victim whom detectives framed was freed and the detectives were sentenced to Federal prison for terms exactly matching the years their victim had served. So much for Helfgott's story "based on true facts." It'd also be noice if, amidst all his awards, reporter Jonathan Neumann had the integrity to correct this phony aspect of the story. Oh well, maybe journalistic integrity is elastic, like that of the detectives in this film.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'd watch it again Feb. 3 2010
By kraftykat - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I discovered this movie only recently. I watch Rob Morrow in Numb3rs and was surprised to see how his character in Numb3rs has many of the characteristics as the character he played in The Thin Blue Line. Very good movie based on a true story.
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