The Interrogation of Michael Crowe

The Interrogation of Michael Crowe

Have you ever wondered why some of my reviews seem so personal?

The answer would explain my addiction to Coming-of-Age movies, and it is as simple as saying that I have been through similar experiences to the characters in the movies I review.  Or sometimes it’s not my personal experiences but an experience of someone I knew well – well enough to help me associate with the actors on screen and what they go through.

That being said, I’m going to tell you that my review of The Interrogation of Michael Crowe is going to be one of those personal reviews. The film is a true masterpiece and is based on  real people and events.  I have seen scenes with my own eyes that closely resemble the events shown in the film.

The Interrogation of Michael CroweThe Interrogation of Michael Crowe is the second feature film produced by Court TV. It focuses on the plight of 14-year-old Michael Crowe.  One morning his younger sister is found murdered in her bed. The police officers decide to accuse Michael of his sister’s murder after seeing things in his room such as the game Final Fantasy 7 and drawings from Dungeons and Dragons. Michael was cruelly interrogated for 11 straight hours. The police used a variety of  scare tactics to get a confession from the confused boy. They lied to him and got what they wanted …

If I were to categorize this film, I would say that it is an extremely heavy and hard to watch  psychological drama. Numerous scenes of Michael’s interrogation features hard rhythm and dynamics of verbal pressure that will have an influence on its viewers.

The first thing one notices when watching this movie is the brilliant acting.   I don’t recall another movie in which the entire cast is so well selected and so flawless on screen. Mark Rendall, who played the role of young Michael Crow, deserves a special recognition as his portrayal of the intensity of emotions Crow felt in the interrogation room is next to perfect.

I would like to quote a few excerpts from an interview transcript in which the real Michael Crow and Mark Rendall answered questions about the story and the movie itself:

Question from Respectful: Mark, was it frightening to be questioned so intensely even though it was just an acting role for you?

Mark Rendall: Yes it was. The people playing the interrogators, the police officers, were very believable. And it was really scary sitting in a room all by myself with just these people in the scene. It actually felt real, though I can never really know what it would be like.

Michael Crowe: You can see it in his acting. You can see that he has some of the real emotions going on inside of him.

Question from RUSTY: Michael, does Mark do a good job being you in the movie?

Michael Crowe: Yes. I think he did a great job. Going into this it was a big question whether they’d find an actor who could really capture this. And up until the point when I actually saw him act, say some of this lines, I didn’t think they’d be able to find anyone. I didn’t think anyone would be able to be that young and be able to act well enough to capture the role.

Mark Rendall in The Interrogation of Michael Crowe Picture
Mark Rendall in The Interrogation of Michael Crowe Picture

Marc Rendall also appears in movies such as The Impossible Elephant, Tales From the Neverending Story, Touching Wild Horses and Child Star. For his performance in The Interrogation of Michael Crowe, he received received a 2004 ACTRA nomination for Best Actor.

I suggest that  you  watch the clip (below) as it has real footage from the interrogation, with the commentary of an expert. Be warned that these scenes are as harsh to watch as the movie itself. Perhaps even more so.

In another interview, to the question “How accurate does this film portray what actually happened?“, Michael answers: “Very accurately. All the stuff in the interrogation room is actually from the videotapes, from the transcripts.“(source)  You can only imagine…

A few years ago, a boy I know well had to go through a similar torture. I found out later from his relatives that he was questioned without their presence. At one point, the policeman threatened to throw him out of the window if he didn’t cooperate with them and tell them what they wanted to hear. Eventually, as in the movie, they got what they wanted and, as a result, the lives of several people became as miserable as they could get. Three years later the parents managed to prove that the content of the document that the boy signed was invented by the police and had nothing to do with the truth. The film resembled this similar situation so closely that I felt deeply distressed while watching it.  That is why I related at the beginning of this review that it was going to be the kind of personal review I sometimes write.

The case of Michael Crowe is described in a detailed case study published by D. Kim Rossmoin in a book titled Criminal Investigative Failures and also in G. Daniel Lassiter book called Interrogations, Confessions, and Entrapment (I have linked to Google books public preview).

To summarize – if I was to describe the film with one word it would would be: Brilliant!!!!!

Michael Crowe: “I think anyone who comes into contact with this story really is going to have some aspect of their views changed.”

The Interrogation of Michael Crowe (2002)

100 min|Drama, Thriller|04 Dec 2002
7.0Rating: 7.0 / 10 from 699 usersMetascore: N/A
The lives of Escondido, California residents Cheryl and Stephen Crowe change one morning when they find their twelve year old daughter Stephanie Crowe stabbed to death in her bedroom. As …
The Interrogation of Michael Crowe (2002)
A MUST SEE
One of the best Coming-of-Age movies ever made.They did not want the truth-they wanted him to confess !
5
OUR RATING
Where to get

11 COMMENTS

  1. THIS MOVIE WAS HEART WRENCHING AND THE ACTING WAS SUPBERB. I WANT TO KNOW WHAT BECAME OF THE CIVIL LAWSUIT AND THE FINDINGS OF THE MEN WHO
    INTERROGATED MICHAEL. THEY SHOULD LIVE IN ETERNAL SHAME FOR WHAT THEY PUT THOSE BOYS THROUGH.

    JUSTICE

  2. I saw the movie and seen the court records. The sysem failed the family and just shows that the system has failed all of us and does not work anymore. It is a time for real change.
    Nobody seems to care what our founding fathers and the constitution stood for. The goverment and all its institutions just stomp on it and dirty it.
    Protect and serve???? Yes, protect the guilty and serve violations to the innocent. That is the police and government way.

    • Sadly there is more truth in that film that someone want to admit. The “system” does not work not just in the US , even trough the recent case with WikiLeaks proved that things such as freedom of speech are just an abstract terms over there. I am not relating the two cases – yet recently Julian Assange said that judges are far more interested in building carriers than caring for the justice and the truth. To everyone who doubts that I would suggest to see The Interrogation of Michel Crowe – you might change your view ….

      Thanks for commenting .

  3. The Interrogation of Michael Crowe is indeed a very emotional film. The acting and the fact that its based on true story makes it even more poignant and disturbing . Thank you for sharing your take on it Amber !

  4. January 15th, 2010

    The verdict of a 12 year old court case has finally been given. The case was filed by the brother and friend of Stephanie Crowe, who had been murdered while she was still a teenager. The brother of the murdered girl, Michael Crowe, filed the case against the police department that had been in charge of the investigation of the murder, complaining that while investigations were on, they were subjected to brutal psychological torture by the police.

    Read more: http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/world/micha

  5. I agree with you Breepop. Mark is an amazing actor . I haven`t seen Childstar and did not know that Mark is it it – after your comment – it gets on my ” to see ” list. Thank you.

  6. i like that movie..i've seen it a few times it seems so real to the actual case,,,marks acting was amazing..his other movie childstar is really good too.

  7. Holla José ( :

    Thank you for your comment. I have not seen the documentary yet – actually did not know it existed , but after you mentioned it – will try to obtain a copy of it. And as about your question – it was in an East European country – even trough sadly things like that could happen everywhere.

    SkyKid

  8. I finally got a copy of this one and i quite liked it, as you say the acting is very good. Have you seen the documentary about Michael Crowe from the “Crime and investigation channel”? It is almost as good and interesting as this movie but gives the story to you in another way (of course).

    By the way, may i ask to you in which country you experienced that thing that happened to the boy you knew/know? It does not really matter but you know… im just a bit curious.

    Cheers

  9. Great article. I wasn’t even aware of this one!

    Saw you on Darren Rowse’s comments and I liked your pitch. This is a great niche you have. I do mostly wide releases and horror.

    I’m going to link ya. See ya around the web.

    -Coop

Leave a Reply