I Am Evidence

Studio: HBO
Directed by Trish Aldesic and Geeta Gandbhir

Apr 16, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


“All I can tell you is what I remember.” These first spoken words immediately set the tone and gravity of Trish Adlesic and Geeta Gandbhir’s investigation into historic police mismanagement of sexual assault cases throughout the United States. With the national number of victims each year averaging out to be roughly 1 every 98 seconds, this is has been and continues to be a severe criminal and cultural crisis. I Am Evidence is an earnest call for justice that puts faces to the figures, making the compelling case that a system built to serve and protect should be better than the criminal it condemns.

A significant portion of the film follows actress/activist (and this film’s producer) Mariska Hargitay and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy through their efforts to secure resources and people to address the disgustingly sizable backlog of untested rape kits in Detroit. This is buttressed by gut-wrenching survivor accounts, expert and investigator interviews, scenic shots of cityscapes, closed circuit security footage, and news coverage of warehouses across the country housing tens of thousands of untested and mishandled rape kits. When kits start getting tested, the hundreds of serial rapists identified in Detroit alone is dreadfully sobering (over a third of all kits tested were connected). How the kits are humiliatingly assembled, detailed with numerous accusations of nearly nonexistent follow-up from law enforcement for (in some cases) decades, all paint a frightfully sharp portrait of how little priority and care is given to these cases.

Adlesic and Gandbhir have an acute sense of structure and presentation, weaving their massive trove of information through a few key stories to equally represent the idealistic desires and the logistical hurdles. Though they are indicting our flagrant failure as a society, it is presented as a drive to change our present system and attitude to solve cases, rather than waste time simply condemning the past. Viridiana Lieberman’s editing exudes care and consideration (at times reminiscent of T.J. Mahar’s work on Crips and Bloods: Made in America), however the sound editing by James David Redding III can be choppy and recognizably rough in particularly pivotal moments. Veteran composer Wendy Blackstone’s low-key score manages to impressively wrangle significant emotional capital, though it is also notable where she chose not to place music, allowing each survivor’s story to carry its own weight.

It’s easy to pour over rape kit statistics and systemic injustice and be angry, but when so many kits are living, struggling human beings, more action is desperately required. When a survivor is not even afforded basic justice for these crimes, when their attacker is still somewhere out there, then (for the survivors) they are everywhere, as well as future potential victims. Adlesic and Gandbhir have bolstered the current national conversation of sexual assault with a docu of adept craftsmanship and emotional resonance. Though it has a few technical hiccups, I Am Evidence is a chilling document that demands audiences take up the call and make the world better.

www.iamevidencethemovie.com

Author rating: 9/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10



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