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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent and realistic court drama, 30 Jun 2005
This review is from: Black And White [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
The film begins with a murder in the 1950s, in rural South Australia. A travelling aboriginal man is quickly arrested and convicted of the crime. Two young Adelaide lawyers take on the case and find a number of inconsistencies with the prosecution evidence. The film follows the attempts by the lawyers to clear the defendant's name, and includes the influence of the then young Rupert Murdoch and his fledgling newspaper in campaigning for justice and eventually removing the death penalty from South Australia.
The film is based on real events. The female lawyer in the film, Helen Devaney, was a relative of my girlfriend, and I am told that her portrayal is breathtakingly accurate. This film is excellently acted, holds you in suspense throughout, and is well worth tracking down.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Battling barrister overcomes odds, 24 Mar 2007
By 
Stephen A. Haines (Ottawa, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Black And White [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
Robert Carlyle, in a most unexpected role, is a lawyer in South Australia in the 1950's. After a child is found murdered, the populace is quick to focus on an itinerant Aborigine, Max Stuart. Max is an outsider, and even the local Aborigines don't stand up for him. Carlyle, assigned his defence by the Law Society is quickly convinced Max has been framed. That any proceedings will be stacked against a Black is a given, something made clear when a local pathologist shifts information to invalidate Max's alibi [the film doesn't make clear that at this time, Aborigines had little legal standing in their homeland. "Citizenship" remained vaguely defined for years to come]. The question of police abuse of the culprit is also raised and the story shifts from an isolated crime to race relations. In this relation of an actual event, neither the small seaside community of Ceduna, nor the State capital Adelaide, come out looking well.

The story is of less significance than how the characters are developed. From a starting point of Carlyle's attempt to render a forced confession invalid, there remains doubt over his guilt right to the end. It's O'Sullivan's quest for justice against a system of obstructions that underlies the story. His task is rendered more difficult by the prosecution's ambition to become a High Court justice. Roderic Chamberlain [Charles Dance], is a cold, aloof and opinionated man. Carlyle carries this role effortlessly, frustrated by the evasions of the witnesses and the enmity of the community. O'Sullivan, for all his idealism, isn't a smooth, calculating man, who hasn't the experience to cover all the bases that might have supported his case. His own assistant counsel has taken to the bottle and his frustrations are conveyed with Carlyle's usual aplomb. Kerry Fox as Helen Devaney, has reason to numb her sense. She reminds Carlyle of what it's like to be the sole woman in a law school of ambitions males.

As a candidate for the Chief Justice, Chamberlain is deeply involved in State politics. Thomas Playford, Premier of South Australia, has already been in office 21 years when the Stuart case occurres. That tenure came under challenge by a young newspaper publisher, Rupert Murdock [Ben Mendolsohn]. Murdoch takes up O'Sullivan's cause, fomenting protests against the death penalty and rousing the public to protests. Playford, disturbed at the turn of events, declares to Chamberlain that "Politics has nothing to do with justice." O'Sullivan, who has taken the case all the way to Britain's highest appeal court, to no avail, continues to battle on and Playford is forced to convene a Royal Commission. The film thus becomes a series of courtroom sessions, with Carlyle's frustrations wonderfully portrayed. The film isn't fast-paced, but the intensity of those involved is admirably conveyed.

This isn't the usual Australian fare with sweeping vistas of the Outback or the ramparts of the Snowy Mountains. Instead, this is a film about people, with intimate close-ups of the actors. Carlyle doesn't smile much in his films, and in this one he has little cause to. Dance nearly outstrips the other performances in a monologue about "what really happened" on that Ceduna beach. He's powerfully convincing, even when his argument is fundamentally flawed. With such commanding performances representing actual, even still-living people, this film chains the attention from beginning to end. A film well worth your time and attention for both the characters and the issues so starkly presented. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great dvd- black and white, 14 Dec 2011
This review is from: Black And White [DVD] (DVD)
Another great movie starring Robert Carlyle,the story has you rooting for the man who has been falsely accused. If it is in book form I will buy it,as this film is based on a true story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great, 24 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Black And White [DVD] (DVD)
Fast shipping and low prices. I thought it would be harder to get it since I live in Sweden, but there wasn't so I will buy more stuff for sure.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Black and White, 15 Nov 2009
By 
J. Meyrick "J.Meyrick" (England (UK)) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Black And White [DVD] (DVD)
Tried very hard to find this DVD and again Amazon came through with the goods at an excellent price.
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Black And White [DVD]
Black And White [DVD] by Craig Lahiff (DVD - 2005)
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