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After Innocence

(2005) ** 1/2 Unrated
95 min. New Yorker Films. Director: Jessica Sanders. Cast: Herman Atkins, Wilton Dedge, Scott Hornoff, Dennis Maher, Vincent Moto.
A growing cause celebre in the U.S. is the plight of the innocent inmate. With over 150 U.S. exonerees thus far counted, Barry Sheck and The Innocence Project toil on behalf of exhausted clients who maintain their innocence. Jessica Sanders' documentary After Innocence looks at the new lives of seven men after their exonerations. All remain committed to getting the word out about having been wronged by a flawed system. Sanders weaves their stories through a central narrative of the Project's attempts to exonerate Floridian Wilton Dedge, still incarcerated despite his lawyer's point of view that he's been demonstrably innocent for three years. Rudimentary in style, After Innocence doesn't have the commanding structure or informational depth of the best documentaries. Nevertheless, it's unavoidably moving. The film's subjects inspire sadness for the wrongly incarcerated and anger over lousy lawyering and too-often guiltless governing. The implicit message that wrongful imprisonment could happen to any innocent person makes After Innocence a genuine horror movie.
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