Directed by Marina Zenovich
“Fantastic Lies” returns to the night of March 13, 2006, when Duke University lacrosse players threw a team party that ended up changing lives, ruining careers, tarnishing a university’s reputation and even jeopardizing the future of the sport at the school. The story ignited what became a national firestorm and resulted in a highly-charged legal investigation. Usually confined to the sports section, lacrosse suddenly appeared on the front pages of newspapers because of the lurid details of the case and the hot buttons that it pushed: sex, race, class, violence.
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★★★★ review by Brendan on Letterboxd
"There are no more Edward R. Murrow's in the media anymore."
While everyone is singing the praises of ESPN's OJ: Made in America I'm here singing the praises of another 30 for 30 documentary Fantastic Lies. It's a study of searching for the truth in the media and how certain things can become construed. It's a documentary that's both interesting and depressing. It's interesting in the storytelling of how it makes you feel exactly how the story went like and the emotions people went through. You'll first hate these men for what they did, but once you step back and look at the bigger picture you see something even more sinister happening. The sad part of the documentary is said by one of the players at the end. "The sad part is that because of this case it's going to be harder for other people who actually went through this to be taken seriously." Definitely underrated in every sense. I know I'm in the minority but I feel this is the better than OJ Made in America. Also makes for an interesting double feature with The Hunting Ground.
★★★★ review by Rocco on Letterboxd
There is a line toward the end regarding Mike Nifong where someone says that there is no worse punishment for a lawyer than to be disbarred. That man should still be in jail for what he did and, more importantly, attempted to do.
★★★★ review by Chris Ortman on Letterboxd
Alternate title: Making a Rapist
★★★★ review by Philmore Seymore Hoffmore on Letterboxd
Considering how few resources the filmmakers had to work with, this is an exceptionally well-made and engaging documentary. It could have done a bit more to more naturally pace the big reveals and really turn audiences on their heads, but I'm inclined to give it a pass because had it really tried to manipulate audiences more, it would have been antithetical to its own purpose.
★★★★ review by thaistanley on Letterboxd
I would be lying if I didn't say I was coming into this film with my own predisposition, so color me surprised when the documentary didn't go down the path that you naturally expect it would go. The film does a great job revealing the prejudices of its viewers, much like the real life subjects themselves. It's a fascinating documentary and reminds us that it's dangerous to assume who's guilty without the collection of evidence beforehand to prove otherwise.
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