The big news on opening day of Sundance was the addition of Justice, an investigative documentary that is notable for being director Doug Liman’s first foray into non-fiction, and the fact that its existence has been kept secret for over a year, with all participants sign the NDA. But for anyone watching the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Brett Kavanaugh and the shameful treatment of Christine Blasey Ford, who made the allegation of attempted rape while they were in high school on In the early 80s, there would be very little information here that comes close to an earth-shattering revelation. Sure, the outrage still stings, but where’s the news?
Liman and producer and screenwriter Amy Herdy spoke after the film’s premiere of the hope that it could trigger action and lead to “a real investigation with subpoena powers.” But with Kavanaugh now sitting in the Supreme Court’s lifetime chair, it’s hard to imagine anything here going to move the needle.
Little that we did not know.
Those who found Ford’s testimony credible and appalled at the bullying she suffered by Republican senators – not to mention hate mail and threats to her family’s safety. from Trump’s extremists – will remain loathsome. Those willing to ignore the evidence that Kavanaugh is evasive, resenting the performance as unfit to serve will still hold that view, albeit without much new reinforcement.
Justice retrieving information is largely already in the public domain, so its primary purpose will likely be a recorded summary, although like a worker hyping here and there with music in general is ominous to suggest shady conspiracies at the highest levels of government. Big surprise.
We don’t need a rerun of Donald Trump mocking Ford’s testimony at one of his rallies to be reminded of the White House’s lack of respect at the time for the whole process, and broadly speaking. for all victims of sexual assault. The firing of “boys will be boys” is still reprehensible, as are the words of those who question why ruining a man’s entire career for something he did as a teenager. small. But none of that is new.
In favor of the film, it provides compelling context from clinical and forensic psychologists on how memory works in relation to trauma, adding credence beyond just the accusations. of Ford but also of second accuser Deborah Ramirez, who came forward during the nomination process with her account of Kavanaugh exposing himself to her while they were at Yale.
Ramirez makes a lot of appearances here, telling her story with courage and frankness. The fact that she’s in the white male-dominated three-person minority at Yale – a woman of two bloodlines not from a rich background – prompts her memory of being humiliated at a drunken party. on campus becomes even more unsettling, with Kavanaugh’s wicked laughter still lingering in her memory.
While much of Ramirez’s experience was revealed in Ronan Farrow’s book New Yorkers In the article, Liman’s film goes into considerable detail indicating that Kavanaugh’s circle approached other Yale alumni who were present at the incident and threatened them with silence. Given that a string of texts alluding to a connection to Kavanaugh predates the article by two months, the Supreme Court nominee appears to have perjured himself in testimony that said Farrow’s work was the first he had heard of. about it. But again, is anyone really surprised at this point?
What was more surprising was Ford’s involvement in Justice is limited to an opening shot in which she is partially out of frame, asking Liman about his end goal with the project. With everything Ford went through just to get it all swept up in the rug by Republicans determined to confirm Kavanaugh’s date at any cost, it might be natural that she chooses to keep a cautious way. Still, seeing Ford in the stands again if nothing else helps refresh memories of what a farce, well, proceedings really were like.
Liman and his investigative team deserve credit for unraveling the extent to which the FBI was a puppet of the Trump administration, severely limiting their investigation, and ignoring much of the relevant information gathered. on a single line of tips and provided only a handful of Kavanaugh-related White House documents. Surprisingly, for example, no attempt was made to interview Ramirez or the other Yale alumni seen here with incriminating recollections of Kavanaugh.
The most important piece of new evidence the film uncovers is the testimony of Max Stier, a respected nonpartisan figure in Washington who was the founding chairman and chief executive officer of the Foundation for Translational Cooperation. Public Service. While Stier wasn’t on camera, he said in an audio recording that he witnessed Kavanaugh’s sexual misconduct during a drunken dorm party. of another woman, who chose to remain anonymous after seeing how Ford was being treated. Once again, the FBI refused to follow up on Stier’s allegations.
But that doesn’t exactly make for a stinging exposure. Consider that Justice advertised at Sundance as a powerful indictment of a corrupt system, it turned out to be an anomaly.