In 1984, a young vibrant white woman was raped and murdered in Winston-Salem North Carolina. A 911 call alerted police and in turn launched a criminal investigation that somehow implicated a young black man named Darryl Hunt. The chain of events that follows is nearly unbelievable as mountains of evidence pile up showing that Hunt wasn’t guilty. However he still is convicted of the crime and is sentenced to life behind bars.
“The Trials of Darryl Hunt” is one of those frustrating docs where we the viewer and many of those involved see exactly where the truth lies. However as events unfold, we sit and watch shocked at what is happening. I don’t want to give to much away in terms of this film because it really is fascinating, but I will say that the film helps crystalize major flaws in our legal system. Especially in terms of racism in our legal system.
Aside from the engrossing trials, we get to meet Hunt’s legal team. A group of men, two black and one white, who simply refuse to give up until Hunt is exonerated. Their reasons for helping Hunt are motivated only by the fact that they know and are compelled to prove his innocence. It’s refreshing to see people who want to do right for rights sake, not just for a photo op.
One flaw with the film is it’s just too long. After the first thirty minutes we fully grasp that Hunt has been wrongly accused. However that just keeps getting brought up over and over. There’s a natural storyline here and I wish some of it were condensed so the power of our frustration remains to the end. Still, “The Trials of Darryl Hunt” is an interesting and shocking film that tells a story many of us knew nothing about but are affected by it nonetheless.