Bearing Witness To Pain: Lindy Lou, Juror Number Two

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This issue of capital punishment is the subject of this offbeat character study of one juror struggling with the morality of her decision.  Florent Vassault’s “Lindy Lou, Juror Number Two” is a pseudo road movie in which Lindy travels across her Mississippi state confronting fellow jurors from the murder trial of Bobby Wilcher twenty years ago.

An off-kilter real life Twelve Angry Men, Lindy reveals a bizarre turn when she admits to visiting and befriending the death row inmate Wilcher and asks for his forgiveness.  Whether this was morally or ethically right, the film presents Lindy as a woman driven by her religious teachings and society norms.  She seeks answers from her fellow jurors, but it is merely to salve her conscience on the notion of actually sentencing a man to death.  What power do we have in this instance?  Should we have that power?  How does one sleep at night after such an act?  For some jurors, it was a societal need and they did their duty.  For others, they are haunted by that decision.

Vassault’s camera is unimaginative, but concise in its subject matter.  Following the animated Lindy through Mississippi in situations both uncomfortable and at times heartbreaking, one cannot wonder how much the camera played a part in her trumped up personality and choice of words during the film.  Playing to the camera is certainly a danger in documentary films which lends itself to the risk of the lack of authenticity and distracts the viewer believing the events as they are.  Vassault found a worthy subject in Lindy by chance, but his camera may have been intrusive and too close to his lead.  At times, it felt as if she were acting for the film instead of going about her day.  One cannot fault the film-maker for trying to inject a different perspective on such a hot topic as capital punishment.

**With a tip of the hat and respect to my festival partner-in-crime, a new “Siskel & Ebert” rating system will be introduced to these films.  I found it fresh, humorous, and very much in tune with the frenetic pace we scheduled ourselves for this festival.

RATING: Not A Run To, But Slow Crawl To Film (worthy enough to see once only)

“Lindy Lou, Juror Number Two” [2016-85 min] directed by Florent Vassault

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