This is a crisp, well-structured documentary which brings together most of the principal facts and figures in Polanski's 1977-1978 unlawful sexual intercourse trial.
Two are missing from the scene -- Polanski himself and Judge Laurence Rittenband, who presided over the case -- and they're the most important and, among followers of the situation, the most divisive.
The filmmakers have a clear respect for Polanski the artist, but they make two points painfully clear: That, in 1977, he gave a 13-year-old girl Quaaludes and champagne before having sex with her; and that the case was poorly (in some cases illegally) handled by Rittenband, who was eventually removed from the case.
Rittenband is dead and Polanski fled to France rather than face his judge's increasingly sketchy demands but most of the principals are here, particularly defense attorney Douglas Dalton, former assistant D.A. Roger Gunson and the victim herself, Samantha Geimer, who's now in her mid-40s, a mother of three children and seems ready to put the whole matter to rest.
The account is fascinating, and artfully punctuated by scenes from Polanski's films, particularly those he appeared in including "Chinatown," "The Tenant" and "The Fat and the Lean," which was made a decade-and-a-half before the trouble but which features Polanski dancing on cue to a drum beaten by a man who, ironically, bears no small resemblance to Rittenband himself.
I never like to assume that I'm an expert on a situation simply after seeing one documentary about it, but it's a persuasive argument when a Mormon district attorney sides with a sex offender and his defense lawyer against a judge. That's pretty convincing evidence this movie is spouting something close to the truth.