The Interrogation of Michael Crowe

2002

Drama / Thriller

0
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 71%
IMDb Rating 6.9 10 931

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN

Director

Cast

Rosemary Dunsmore as Dorothy Sorenson
Marcia Bennett as Lauren
Hannah Lochner as Shannon Crowe

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by SnoopyStyle 6 / 10

true story TV movie

Cheryl (Ally Sheedy) and Stephen Crowe (Michael Riley) are loving parents to Michael, Shannon, and Stephanie in Escondido, California. One night, someone stabs Stephanie to death. The police is puzzled by the lack of evidence of a break-in and suspicion immediately falls on the family. Detective Baker interviews transient Richard Tuite for an unconnected issue and doesn't even consider him for the case. They isolate the surviving kids from their parents. With relentless interrogation and trickery, they gain false confessions from Michael, his friends Joshua Treadway and Aaron Houser.

Based on the real murder in 1998, this TV movie is at a lower level. It doesn't have the production value to be truly compelling or intense. It would be melodramatic if there isn't a real story behind it. The interrogations are tough to watch due to their inherit unbalanced dynamics. They also drag on for too long. In a way, the audience is stuck inside the room along with Michael and that has some benefits. It shows how a confession could be coerced. It's an uncomfortable watch. The legal wrangling after that in the second half works well enough.

Reviewed by Woodyanders 10 / 10

Very powerful

The Crowe family are shocked and unsettled when 12-year-old daughter Stephanie (a brief, but memorable appearance by Anna Mary Wilson) gets brutally murdered in their home late at night. The police suspect Stephanie's surly, naive 14-year-old brother Michael (superbly played by Mark Rendall) of the killing and pressure him into making a confession. Michael's distraught mother Cheryl (an outstanding portrayal by Ally Sheedy) and sympathetic father Stephen (a fine Michael Riley) don't believe the charges and take legal action to get Michael released from jail. Director Don McBrearty, working from a gripping and thoughtful script by Alan Hines, relates this startling true story of injustice, the untrustworthiness of the police, and how the law can work against us instead of for us with commendable skill, taste and restraint. The first-rate acting from a uniformly sterling cast rates as another significant asset: Rendall is a revelation as the scared and confused Michael, Sheedy and Riley are equally terrific as his parents, plus there are sturdy supporting performances by Hannah Lochner as Michael's sweet younger sister Shannon, John Bourgeois as the severe, intimidating Detective Claytor, and Rosemary Dunsmore as shrewd defense attorney Dorothy Sorenson. Rhett Morita's slick cinematography and the moody, mournful score by Alex Pauk and Alexina Louie are both up to par as well. An exceptionally potent and poignant picture which packs a remarkably strong and lingering emotional punch.

Reviewed by sddavis63 9 / 10

Truly Scary Stuff

Don't misunderstand my title. This isn't a horror movie - at least not in the sense of genre. But it is a truly frightening true story about the abuse of police power.

Basically, the story is quite simple. 12 year old Stephanie Crowe is brutally murdered in her own home in Escondido, California while her family sleeps. Without any real evidence, the police decide that her 14 year old brother Michael must be guilty, they ignore evidence pointing to another suspect and they coerce a confession from him after two days of non-stop questioning, filled with lies about what they supposedly "know," threats if he won't confess and promises of help if he will. Young Michael then becomes the object of a relentless prosecution by the District Attorney, who finally admits that there is no direct evidence but won't give up the case, instead dismissing it "without prejudice," thus leaving possible future prosecution hanging over Michael's head, and leaving the viewer wondering what's going to happen to this boy, until the final decision is revealed at the end.

This is truly an excellent, gripping movie. It takes a bit of getting into in the first few minutes, but once you're into it you're definitely hooked. Superb performances come from Ally Sheedy and Michael Riley as Michael's parents and - I'll use the phrase again - there's a positively frightening performance from John Bourgeois as Detective Claytor. Not to be overlooked is young Mark Rendall's performance as Michael. He brilliantly portrayed the fear and hopelessness this young boy must have felt. At times I thought he came across as a bit too mature in his portrayal, but, then again, maybe that was Michael.

This isn't a particularly well known movie, but everyone should see it.

9/10

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