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The Staircase II: The Last Chance (2013)

Director:
Jean-Xavier de Lestrade
COUNTRY
France
GENRE
Documentary/Crime
NORWEGIAN TITLE
Mordet i trappen
RUNNING TIME
130 minutes
Producer:
Allyson Luchak
Screenwriter:
Jean-Xavier de Lestrade


Cast includes:

CHARACTER ACTOR/ACTRESS RATING
Themselves Michael Peterson
David Rudolf

 

Review

If you're among the Making a Murderer cult, you will most certainly enjoy this two years senior documentary about a middle-aged writer called Michael Peterson who in 2001 called the emergency service reporting that he had found his wife at the bottom of the staircase in their North-Carolina home, only to become the police's suspect and be convicted for bludgeoning her to death in 2003. Now, some ten years later, his lawyer remains convinced of his innocence and works pro bono to get him a retrial to clear his name.

The film is made by a French team who first documented this case through a TV-mini-series back in 2004. This time, despite nine years of imprisonment, it is a more spirited and jovial Michael Peterson we meet, and one of the film's best features is how it continually lets us assess Peterson, and his possible guilt or innocence, based on his appearance and words. Writer/director Jean-Xavier de Lestrade doesn't have an agenda here; he is not out to clear Peterson's name by introducing anything but known facts and figures. What he does want to do, however, is uncover wrongdoings done by the state and how dishonest representatives for the prosecution has and can lead to wrongful convictions. Michael Peterson may or may not be guilty of what he was convicted of, but there's no arguing the facts that his lawyer ultimately reveals. As a feature documentary, the film may feel a little formulaically unfulfilled, but it is a highly interesting and important study all the same.

Copyright 31.03.2016 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang

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