I have to confess, lately I’m a a little burned out on documentaries. But after some feet dragging–I just wasn’t in the mood for more true stories of brutal murders of innocent people. The Witness proved to be more than just a depressing expose on an infamous crime, but a thoroughly engrossing documentary. This eye-opening work by director James Soloman (The Conspirator, 2010) unpacks the details and misinformation surrounding the events and iconic death of Kitty Genovese, who in 1964 was reportedly killed in front of 38 witnesses in Queens, New York.
The Witness is a powerful look at the devastating results of irresponsible journalism. Over the years, the Genovese murder became the subject of numerous books, news reports, themes on episodic TV crime shows, and case studies; her brutal murder shocked the country and its myth has remained alive through the world over the last half century. What is most refreshing in The Witness is how the film brings Kitty to life and reveals the person behind the grotesque murder. For the first time in 50 years, we see her as a beloved sister, popular friend, and a never-forgotten lover. This is definitely a documentary that is worth your time.
—John David West