Published Sep 23, 2012Marina Zenovich's 2008 documentary, Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, examined the events that led to Polanski fleeing America in 1978 to escape sentencing for engaging in sex with then 13-year-old Samantha Geimer.
Her film exposed the wrongdoing committed by the deputy district attorney, which ultimately led to the resurgence of a rape case that had been shrugged off for nearly 30 years.
Zenovich's follow-up documentary, Roman Polanski: Odd Man Out, is an attempt to make amends for the undue hardship from the film, which she believes instigated Polanski's 2009 arrest in Switzerland and subsequent extradition battle.
Following a standard timeline formula, the film assumes viewers are already well acquainted with Polanski's past and flashes forward to the current challenges he has been dealt. Utilizing archival footage and interviews, Zenovich blends current interviews with those closest to the case, personal friends and colleagues, loosely peppered with interviews of opponents in an attempt to add a concept of balance.
Most interesting is that Samantha Geimer is highly visible in the documentary, offering her views from the victim's standpoint and repeatedly stating that she wishes the case could permanently be put to rest, as she has long since forgiven Polanski.
This documentary steers away from the case itself and explores the notion that there were political undertones fuelling the extradition proceedings, honing in on a possible explanation of why Switzerland, a traditionally neutral country, would get involved in the matter.
The incident occurred at the height of the U.S. financial crisis, with many Americans being investigated for tax evasion, while coincidentally a Swiss bank (UBS) was being hounded to turn over financial records. It's implied that the Swiss government was trying to distract attention to the matter by handing over Polanski to the Americans, although Zenovich is unable to produce expert testimony to substantiate the theory.
Odd Man Out is an interesting take on the theme of self-interest trumping justice. Those with a curiosity in the ongoing legal saga of the infamous director will undoubtedly find this an interesting watch.
Alas, without the appropriate testimony from David Wells, the former district attorney that spurred the fiasco, it's nothing more than a biased docudrama topped with a conspiracy theory. (Partout)