David and Me – Film Review

David_&_Me_2

April 24th, 2014:  On its surface, the kidnapping and murder of Nathan Blenner on October 20th, 1985 in Brooklyn, New York was a tragic event.  Even more egregious was the subsequent arrest and conviction of two 16 year old juveniles, David McCallum and Willie Stuckley, whose false confessions sealed their fate.  So why is a middle class Jewish Italian kid from Toronto fighting for his exoneration?  “David & Me” is the poignant and all too vexing legal journey to find truth, seek justice and right the wrongs that have festered for 28 years.

Given the recent passing of Dr. Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, whose prominent advocacy for McCallum further validates the colour narrative of injustice that he faced and that still exists, stories like this continue to serve as a clarion call for legal change.  The eerie parallel between Klonsky and McCallum’s troubled early years becomes the binding agent from which two worlds coalesce.  McCallum’s wrongful conviction is the nexus where trial transcripts, case materials, confession footage and investigation reports all find new life.  In the era before DNA evidence and false confession analysis, Director turned investigator Ray Klonsky, together with David’s new Pro Bono Attorney Oscar Michelen, revealed a litany of short comings littered throughout his case transcripts and beyond.  Framed within the stark confines of life imprisonment, the tone Klonsky evokes throughout the narrative is still one of hope.

Verdict 4 out of 5:  In the most ironic of twists, David & Me becomes more about how David McCallum saves Ray Klonsky and Ray’s valiant attempt to return the favour.  Klonsky and Lamy’s methodically paced narrative into all facets of David’s incarceration, issues surrounding racism and the absence of competent legal representation revealed what McCallum’s former court appointed defence attorney couldn’t, the irrefutable evidence of his innocence. Klonsky captures with raw clarity, the unrelenting shroud of frustrations ever-present in the eyes of family, friends and advocates alike. David McCallum’s powerful and ill-fated story of injustice will stay with you as he continues to hold vigil in his very own David versus Goliath struggle to shed more light on a flawed system.

Five minutes of testimony in 1985 was the beginning of his end.

Genre: Documentary
Country: 
Canada
Language: English
Release Date: 
April 27th  2014
Directors: Ray Klonsky, Marc Lamy
Writers: 
Ray Klonsky, Marc Lamy
Producers: Michael McNamara, Aaron Hancox
Executive Producer: Judy Holm
Premiere: 
World Premiere
Runtime: 69 Minutes
Website: 
www.markhamstreetfilms.com
Cast: 
David McCallum, Ernestine McCallum, Mattie McCallum, Ray Klonsky, Ken Klonsky, Dr. Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, Oscar Michelen, Steve A Drizin, Marc Lamy, Van Padgett.

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