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EW reviews Errol Morris DVDs

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EW reviews Errol Morris DVDs

Whether they’re saving an innocent man from prison or giving small-town turkey hunters a chance to wax poetic, Morris’ investigations are often more philosophical than factual. His subjects look right into the camera and the camera looks into them, creating a unique form of documentary focused on thought rather than action. In the Errol Morris DVD Collection, the director finds the sage in everyone — the bereaved pet owners of Gates of Heaven, the rural eccentrics of Vernon, Florida, the accused cop killers of The Thin Blue Line — by simply letting them talk. At once absurd and profound, Morris’ deadpan technique leads inevitably to the moment in Line when a chocolate milk shake provides key evidence that an innocent man has been sentenced to die. Meanwhile, the 17 episodes of First Person: The Complete Series are more down-to-earth, each focused on a single talking head. But given that the subjects are as varied as a squid hunter, an autistic slaughterhouse architect, and the Unabomber’s pen pal, and are filtered through Morris’ multi-camera Interrotron, the results are as dazzling and unsettling as ever. The dearth of EXTRAS, then, is a disappointment: In the Collection, nothing but a First Person ep tacked on to Line. Line, Gates: A
Vernon, Person: A-