Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

On December 23rd 1979 a young woman was murdered. On July 19th 1999 a man was arrested for that crime, thanks to DNA evidence. He had previously been suspected, but for those 20 years he had had an alibi. The location is a small one in Ireland, a place where "everyone trusted each other because nothing had happened to stop that trust". The consequences of that day, of that decision to maintain that lie of an alibi, are still felt.

Over shots of the abandoned factory that provided much of the employment to the town, shots that often seem still until some small fragment of motion betrays them, dead spiders dangle and there are textures of decay. Overgrown, faded, snow-buried, the visuals are matched with interviews, locals talking about the event, about what is described as an "error of judgement".

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Darren Bolger and Caroline Campbell's film is a portrait of an individual crime lost amidst other tragedies. In an era before modern forensics, the CSI effect and all that, and with law enforcement struggling with other priorities, it fell to some old-fashioned police work to resolve this case, and that was not enough. Philip Stewart's sound work and Jim Bloxam's footage of the factory are haunting, but so too is the archive footage woven through the picture. More so, though, is the fact of the alibi itself, and the justifications, implications, and time that have followed it.

Reviewed on: 29 Jun 2010
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The truth behind an alibi that kept a killer from justice for 20 years.
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Director: Darren Bolger, Caroline Campbell

Year: 2009

Runtime: 13 minutes

Country: Ireland

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