Greetings again from the darkness. Evil personified. That is the only possible way to describe 10 year old boys Robert Thompson and Jon Venables. In February 1993, the British boys skipped school and spent the day doing typically mischievous activities around the local shopping center. Typical that is until they abducted 2 year old James Bulger.
This is writer-director Vincent Lambe’s 4th short film, and it’s based on the disturbingly true story of the abduction-torture-murder of toddler James by the two young boys. The film draws directly from the actual tapes of interviews/interrogations once the boys were identified from the grainy security footage. This dramatization includes the pleas of innocence from the boys, as well as the reactions of both their parents and the police officers. The scenes depicting the questioning of the boys is powerful, and the scenes of the 3 boys together is more than most of us can bear, despite little of the crime being shown (thankfully).
Young actors Ely Solan (Jon) and Leon Hughes (Robert) are both extraordinary in their performances. Director Lambe deftly applies judgment in what is shown on screen and what instead corrupts our thoughts. It’s heart-breaking to see what the parents of these boys must endure, but it’s beyond our comprehension to imagine what Baby James Bulger’s parents must have endured. The boys were tried as adults in 1993, and both subsequently released from incarceration and given assumed identities for their own protection. If somehow Lambe’s short film isn’t disturbing enough, it’s pretty simple to get the full report of what the boys inflicted on that poor child. Evil personified.
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