A self shooting observational documentary producer/director making engaging, thought-provoking films about real people, often filming over extended timeframes.

War and Justice : Reviews

My Role
David McKinlay
Exec Producer Channel 4
Anna Moralis
Exec Producer
Alan Clements
Mick McAvoy
Chris Terrill
Mark Thomas
Prod Co
Two Rivers Media
Uppercut Films
Channel 4
Transmission Date
31st July 2022

Can we expect soldiers to act faultlessly in war? How many times, did this sort of thing — soldiers from any army losing control and breaking military law in the terrifying heat of war — happen before the days of video and body-camera evidence, times when nobody was any the wiser?

A compelling account of a killing, with a fatal flaw.  This documentary, though, is remiss in not considering the real victim. “Nobody seems to worry about him,” said Jeff Blackett, the judge who presided over Blackman’s first trial. “That was a man who might have been spared but was killed.

This expertly researched documentary tells the story of the first British soldier to be convicted of murder on a foreign battlefield since the Second World War, featuring a rare interview with Blackman.  No one is doubting that his actions were inexcusable, but this film is a compelling plea for understanding of the mental strain placed on soldiers in war.

Blackman’s interviews felt as if he was still unsure what story to tell. Initially, he claimed to have believed that the fighter was already dead when he shot him – a claim he withdrew in order to accept the manslaughter charge. An exercise in morality that’s impossible to judge from a sofa.

Stephen Bennett’s film steered a commendably steady course through contributions from Blackman’s wife, colleagues, the defence and prosecution, and the helmet-cam footage of the incident. Most were on Blackman’s side. The footage certainly was not. I don’t imagine many viewers will have had their minds changed, but you were certainly left with a dim view of what was expected of soldiers operating in the most extreme of circumstances.

Having established Blackman’s criminal wrongdoing in the opening third of this film, this feature-length documentary then sets about muddying the waters, in the best possible way, by making the viewer consider all of the extraneous aspects of the case.