Itchy Mysteries' video review
Review by Mark Schwab
July 2nd, 2018
In the brilliant (and criminally underrated) 1993 Joel Schumacher thriller FALLING DOWN, Michael Douglas plays an unemployed defense engineer who walks across Los Angeles on foot (his car has broken down) to try and get to his estranged daughter's birthday party. Along the way, violence and tragedy stick to him like his shirt in the LA heat as he begins to lash out at a society who has rejected him across the board. In Alan Berry's stunning feature documentary DEAD MAN'S LINE, he has managed to show us a real-life version and it's impossible to not draw parallels.
If you watch or follow enough media today - both broadcast and social - you could easily fall into a deep sense of unease. Forget former President Carter's famous "malaise" description; a lot of people currently feel that we are on the edge of an almost literal civil war because too many people are just getting too angry over too many things that they simply cannot control because of "them". And who are "them"? Take your pick - the Trump administration, the Democrat party, certain Supreme Court Justices...fill in the blank. Make enough people economically poor and politically powerless for a long enough time and something has to give.
On February 8th, 1977 Anthony ("Tony") Kiritsis was tired of feeling powerless against "them" - in this case a mortgage broker named Richard C. Hall whose company owned the note on some land that Kiritsis was working hard to develop. Tony walks into Hall's office with a sawed-off shotgun and takes him hostage. His shotgun is specifically rigged by having it wired around Hall's neck and back to Tony's hand - any major movements, or even if Tony simply falls down (i.e. shot by police) and Hall's head gets blown clean off. Live and in color. Read the rest
The image that first grabs you is of two men walking in their shirtsleeves, which immediately sticks them out of place against everyone heavily bundled up in the bitter Indianapolis February.
Both are in their 40s, sporting bald spots and those hellacious sideburns that were popular in the late 1970s, like psychedelic pyramids rooted on their cheeks. One is short, dark-haired, burly, sleeves rolled up over thick, hairy forearms. The other is taller, with the wispy remains of what was probably once a fine blond head of hair, the collar of his business shirt popped up against the cold.
The shorter man walks closely behind, a sawed-off shotgun pressed up against the base of the other’s skull. He is screaming expletives at the police and gawkers in downtown Indianapolis, while the other man seems haunted, resigned, almost calm.
They are strung together by a thin wire that binds the gunman’s hand to the weapon, and the gun to his victim’s neck. He calls it a “dead man’s line” — his nearly invisible assurance that if he dies, from a sniper’s bullet or such, the gun will go off and end the other. The police, helpless, keep their distance. Read the rest of the review
Released on February on iTunes and Amazon, the Indianapolis made feature doc Dead Man's Line: The True Story of Tony Kiritsis" recounts the riveting case of Anthony "Tony" Kiritsis, whose name rings almost instantly familiar for anyone who has lived in the Indy area since the mid-70's after the wannabe real estate developer showed up early in the morning on February 8, 1977 under the guise of asking Hall Hottel/Meridian Mortgage executive Richard O. Hall a question and kicked off what would become an almost unimaginable 63-hour hostage situation that, at times, played out within public view and live on television.
Co-written and directed by Alan Berry and Mark Enochs, Dead Man's Line is, without question, the definitive documentary on the Kiritsis case even for those of us old enough to remember what we'd have believed to be every stinkin' detail of the case before watching this remarkably thorough and painstakingly detailed doc. Read the rest of the review