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We reviewed Crime After Crime when it screened during the D.C. Independent Film Festival. It opens this weekend at West End Cinema, and director Yoav Potash will join the theater for a Q&A session. The film shows through July 21; adult tickets are $11. Here’s what we said about Crime After Crime in April.
There are a slew of reasons why Debbie Peagler shouldn’t have been convicted of first-degree murder. So her case is taken up pro bono by lawyers Nadia Costa and Joshua Safran, who are utterly struck by the injustice of her case: After suffering six years of domestic abuse at the hands of her boyfriend, Oliver, Debbie—at the suggestion of her mother—asks local gang leaders to “take care of him.” They kill Oliver, but Debbie lands the 25-to-life sentence, in no small part because the Los Angeles district attorney chose to ignore swaths of evidence in her favor. Crime After Crime trades in the facts of Debbie’s case, but director/producer Yoav Potash also illuminates what she represents: the 80 percent of incarcerated women who are domestic-violence victims. The blows that beat back Debbie’s—and her lawyers’—attempts to win her freedom are brutal; Crime After Crime’s running time is 90 minutes, and none of them are easy to watch. But all are very good. While Debbie’s story alone is compelling, Nadia and Joshua’s dogged pursuit of the right thing is matched only by their legal acumen—all of which makes for an impressively watchable piece that moves beyond the standard territory of social-justice documentaries.