A Murder in the Park

(USA 2015)

I love movies set in and about Chicago, especially since the time I moved here. I do not remember this, though: a group of Northwestern University journalism students under the direction of “advocate” Prof. David Protess reenact a 1982 murder at a South Side pool and conclude that it could not have happened the way police and the courts determined it did, persuading Gov. George Ryan to free a convicted killer (Anthony Porter), jail an innocent man (Alstroy Simon), and ultimately abolish the death penalty.

The problem is, the alleged killer was by all accounts probably guilty. Walking us through the facts, interviews with those involved, and the sloppy “investigation” of the students, filmmakers Christopher S. Rech and Brandon Kimber demonstrate a worst-case scenario of political correctness, academic corruption, and second-guessing those charged with solving crimes. It’s an interesting and even controversial film considering the current prevailing attitude toward law enforcement.

(Gene Siskel Film Center) B+