The moral purity of "After Innocence" is so overwhelming that it simply leaves you with nothing to say or do. It's kind of beyond criticism.
The film, directed by Jessica Sanders, is an orthodox infomercial of the efforts of a group of lawyers, legal aid helpers and forensic technicians and doctors to locate dubious prosecutions, look for exculpating DNA evidence, then guide the case back through the system in hopes of getting an unjustly accused man freed.
Who could argue with this notion? Who isn't disarmed by it? The movie briefly sketches the circumstances of a few of its triumphs. Racism is clearly one of the factors at play, but the filmmakers are astute enough to avoid turning the movie into a black-white issue. Another factor seems to be convenience: The cops are eager to clear cases and will usually settle on the first and most likely suspect. This even happens when that poor guy is one of their own, as the movie documents a New England case in which a detective was convicted chiefly because he had been a lover of the murder victim. His case is particularly disenchanting because if they go for him, they'll go for anyone, right?
But mostly the movie stays with Wilton Dedge, a hapless Floridian who was convicted on eyewitness testimony (later recanted) and clumsy medical evidence. He spent 22 years in prison for rape and assault, and the state was very slow to respond to the mounting evidence of his innocence.
He lost 22 years of his life, but the generous state of Florida has made up for it by giving him exactly zero dollars. Welcome to the rest of your life, Wilton Dedge.
-- Stephen Hunter