Sunday, April 27, 2008
The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. (1999)
In general I enjoy Michael Moore's films, but I'm glad that there are directors like Errol Morris who make documentaries that don't have agendas, and investigate subjects out of sheer curiosity. I don't think there is another director alive who could've made an interesting film about pet cemeteries (Gates of Heaven). But if you can get Fred Leuchter to sit down in front of a camera and talk about his career designing electric chairs, lethal injection machines, gas chambers and gallows, and then explain how he got mixed-up with a group of holocaust deniers as a result, then the movie practically makes itself. It's a fascinating story: the rise is bizarre and the fall even more so. By the way, if you haven't seen The Fog of War (think Donald Rumsfeld as a very old man, reflecting honestly and remorsefully on his career and the blood on his hands) then see that one first.