Crime Of The Century

The kidnapping and murder of the Lindbergh baby is one of the 20th century's greatest crimes. The crime to which the title refers, however, is the alleged framing of Bruno Hauptmann, a German immigrant carpenter. Stephen Rea is quite good as the bluff, painfully trustful Hauptmann, watching in wide-eyed shock as facts about his case are swept under the rug in the face of public thirst for a conviction. Isabella Rosselini is even better as his wife, who early on sees the direction events are taking, and whose pain and outrage make the film vibrate with shared injustice. Factually and emotionally, the story is right on target; the people at HBO did their homework on this one, and spent the time necessary to make a very good travesty-of-American-justice film. The only problem is that there are so many good travesty-of-American-justice films already. It might not be as relevant, but Crime Of The Century is every bit as good for home viewing as last year's death-row tear jerker, Dead Man Walking.

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