This film was produced as part of PBS’ Independent Lens program and it screened for free at a local theater as part of a community cinema series. It sounded good to me. Monroe, as a teenager, was involved in a bank robbery; he went to prison, served his time, went to film school and then returned to the scene of the crime to investigate the ripple effect of his bad decision. Unfortunately, it really didn’t work for me. It’s an interesting story and some of the interview segments, particularly the ones with his two fellow bank robbers, and the ones with people who were in the bank at the time of the robbery, are interesting and compelling. It’s interesting to see his two compatriots; one of them has cleaned up his life, as Monroe has, while the other is still caught in the drug business. But the film fails to deliver on its title; a large part of the film is taken up with parents and friends trying to figure out why a straight-A honor student like Monroe would commit a crime like he did, but the film offers no answers. Maybe that’s the point, but it makes the film feel pointless and shallow. The film also has no energy; at less than an hour and a half, it still felt like at least two hours. And it features some very cheesy “re-enactments” of the robbery, Monroe’s arrest, etc. These feel very cheaply and lazily done and pulled me out of the film. It’s a compelling and intriguing idea, but the film is lightweight and superficial, unfortunately. Below Average. 1 ½ stars.
tl;dr – bank robber turned film student revisits his earlier crime in this superficial, meandering documentary; intriguing idea but the film fails to deliver. 1 ½ stars.