17 June 2016 | dascalargo
A great documentary, a terrible legal system
I saw Off the Rails last night at the Provincetown International Film Festival. Adam Irving does an amazing job in his directorial debut, telling the story of Darius McCollum, a man obsessed with the New York subway system, and how our "justice" system has failed him. I had heard of McCollum through the news. He has been stealing trains for two-thirds of his life and has served multiple terms in prison for his crimes.
This was clearly a passion project for Irving, who not only directed and cinematographed (yes, that is a word) but also, along with Tchavdar Georgiev, wrote, edited, and produced the film. Irving and Georgiev look not only at McCollum's "adventures," but also his backstory and how inadequately the judiciary handles unique individuals like Darius.
At various points in the film, all of us would groan in unified exasperation, and near the end, when no resolution seems to be forthcoming, some people in the audience vented their frustration by offering advice to Darius and his advocates on the screen. Some also made it very clear how they felt about his detractors. To go any deeper might diminish the affect of Darius's story, so I'll leave it at that.
Because my work hours overlap with the Film Festival's hours, chances are this will be the only PIFF movie I'll be able to see this year. From what I've been hearing, the films this year have been particularly good, but if I am only able to see one of them I'm very glad I chose this one.