The Trials of Darryl Hunt

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Total Count: 11


Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,203
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Movie Info

In 1984, a young white newspaper reporter, Deborah Sykes, was raped, sodomized and stabbed to death just blocks from where she worked in Winston-Salem, N.C. Based on an ID made by a former Klan member, a 19-year-old black man, Darryl Hunt, was charged. No physical evidence linked Hunt to the crime. Hunt was convicted by an all white jury, and sentenced to life imprisonment. In 1994, DNA testing cleared Hunt, yet he would spend another 10 years behind bars. "The Trials of Darryl Hunt" chronicles this capital case from 1984 through 2004. With personal narratives and exclusive footage from two decades, the film frames the judicial and emotional responses to this chilling crime--and the implications surrounding Hunt's conviction--against a backdrop of class and racial bias in America. This unique look at one man's loss and redemption challenges the assumption that all Americans have the right to unbiased justice.

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Critic Reviews for The Trials of Darryl Hunt

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (3)

  • Throughout the film, Hunt emerges as a likable man with a deep religious faith and an astonishing ability to reject anger and bitterness.

    Jul 27, 2007 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Powerful and unsettling.

    Jan 25, 2006

    Justin Chang

    Top Critic
  • Hunt spent the next 20 years of his life trying to prove his innocence, and documentary filmmakers Annie Sunberg and Ricki Stern captured more than a decade of his struggle. If you've never seen a lawyer cry before, this is the film to catch.

    Aug 23, 2017 | Full Review…
  • ... a complicated tale that exposes how a credible case can be built upon perjuries and fabrications.

    Jul 26, 2007 | Rating: B | Full Review…
  • A scathing indictment of a system in disarray and provides a heartfelt portrait of the resilience of the human spirit, struggling in the face of injustice and genuinely overwhelming odds.

    Jun 15, 2007 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • The uplift here is honestly earned, because it is so beautifully contrasted with harrowing venality and willful ignorance.

    Jun 1, 2007 | Rating: 4/4

Audience Reviews for The Trials of Darryl Hunt

  • Sep 11, 2012
    As the title quite clearly specifies, the movie is about the trials of Darryl Hunt. The movie focuses on the proceedings of the case since Darryl's arrest till his exoneration. What I found favorable was: - It was not all things Darryl Hunt, just telling his life story unnecessarily dragging it to his childhood memories. - That it didn't pan the police & legal system heavily (regardless of it being due at times). - That it put the story of around 20 years in a nutshell effectively enough. The unfavorable elements may be: - At times, though not often, it tends to get repetitive. - While it sums up the case in around 2 hours appropriately, it doesn't give a wholesome picture of the case. It rushes on with the real culprit's part. As if it were going to turn the movie about him than Darryl Hunt. It's given incredibly less footage. The film fares well enough to depict majority of the case. It works in bits & parts more than less, but isn't equally effective on the whole. As for Darryl Hunt himself, it's probably yet another case of miscarriage of justice. But I couldn't help wondering if he'd have been serving time for some other crime had he not been in prison for Sykes' murder. Of course, it's not fair to judge one on the basis of their colleagues/group. One can't help much when instincts come up with some hypothetical scenario, though. Having said what I needed to, I finally realize that this is not an appropriate place for such discussions, and that I should better limit my comments related to the movie in question.
    familiar s Super Reviewer
  • Jun 24, 2007
    Riveting, expertly crafted documentary that follows the 20 year story of Darryl Hunt, a man who was wrongly accused of the rape and murder of a newspaper reporter in Winston-Salem, NC, and faced years of mistakes, mishandlings, and racism from an incompetent justice system before being totally exonerated after previously ignored DNA evidence proves his innocence. A stunning and disturbing look at shocking problems within our justice system, and the 20 year struggle of a wrongly accused man to find justice for himself and the woman he was accused of murdering.
    Matthew L Super Reviewer

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