Trial by Fire Reviews

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May 31, 2019
Sadly, this cinematic retelling of a truly appalling story is too often hamstrung by its predictability and overreliance on the audience's outrage at Willingham's plight.
May 24, 2019
Powerful stuff, but unpowerfully told, in part because the energies in "Trial by Fire" are split between proving Todd Willingham's innocence and building an argument against the death penalty no matter what the verdict.
May 21, 2019
A long-winded sermon with too much preamble and a big finish, with some rough-edged nap time tucked in between.
May 20, 2019
Takes a fascinating, suspenseful true story and waters it down into a generic, maudlin, anti-death-penalty message.
May 17, 2019
Trial by Fire comes off as a thinner, mediocre version of another fact-based death-row drama.
May 17, 2019
Heavy-handed didacticism makes parts of Trial By Fire feel rigged, costing the story some of its power.
May 17, 2019
The film plods at points, trudging along, and there are a few misguided narrative 'devices' tacked on.
May 16, 2019
The screenplay shows us the investigations of the police and the prosecution first, stacking the deck so far in favor of Willingham's guilt that the eventual turn is blatantly telegraphed.
May 16, 2019
Simply too one-note and manipulative for its own good -- so much so that even those who are passionately against the death penalty in all circumstances are liable to find it to be little more than a well-meaning bore.
May 16, 2019
Trial by Fire loses its way by failing to trust the power of its compelling facts to convince you on their own.
May 16, 2019
[I]t's hard not to feel that even at a little over two hours, there's a rushed, assembly-line quality to how "Trial by Fire" wants to work our emotions.
May 16, 2019
Chunks of a pretty good prison movie occasionally bob to the surface of this bleeding-heart biopic about Cameron Todd Willingham. Unfortunately, they eventually drown under waves of blandness and cliche.
May 16, 2019
It's a haunting, heartbreaking story, told by a movie that never quite makes a case for itself to exist.
May 16, 2019
A dramatically inert message movie that will move neither the heart nor the needle in America's debate over government sanctioned killing.
May 16, 2019
The powerful story behind Trail By Fire almost outweighs it's cheap presentation.
May 15, 2019
Fletcher heads to extreme manipulation to squeeze some suspense out of what's a surprisingly uneventful film.
May 15, 2019
Certain aspects of the story... are addressed so superficially that it would have been more efficient just to show them being crossed off of a checklist.
May 15, 2019
Trial by Fire has plenty of strength when it comes to its two lead performers, but it's as if director Edward Zwick feels as though holding back and letting the linear plot do the work is all that's needed...
May 15, 2019
Forget about Trial by Fire.
May 15, 2019
"Trial by Fire" is at its best when attacking the prosecution's bad science. Unfortunately, the film would rather try, and fail, to tug on the audience's heartstrings
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