Film

Alex Gibney’s “No Stone Unturned” Is a Speculative, Irresponsible Attempt at an Exposé

The prolific filmmaker delves unconvincingly into a still-unresolved 1994 Irish pub shooting

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Shame on nonfiction filmmaker Alex Gibney for making true-crime doc No Stone Unturned an irresponsible and potentially dangerous postmortem of the still-unsolved 1994 pub shooting in Northern Ireland that left six Loughinisland residents dead. Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side, Going Clear: Scientology & the Prison of Belief) offers a detailed but often speculative investigation of the anti-Catholic hate crime. His conclusion — local pro-loyalist cops destroyed key evidence to avoid future revenge killings — is tantalizing, although there has never been solid evidence of a politically motivated police cover-up.

But his arguments are primarily supported by inconclusive or unenlightening evidence, especially paranoiac testimony from Loughinisland community members, and anonymously submitted documents. He presents an unnamed accomplice’s letter and a leaked police report draft as sources of factual truth, though he has no official police confirmation that the suspects named in these papers are guilty. Gibney also recklessly details his suspects’ current whereabouts, occupations, and hobbies, like those of one Belfast-based online sex club member.

Gibney also needlessly vilifies former police ombudsman Michael Maguire and still-active investigator Phil Dennison during multiple on-camera interview segments, even though Maguire and Dennison admit that the original investigation stalled because of some undisclosed form of collusion between the cops and loyalists, and local police’s mishandling and destruction of evidence.

Gibney films Dennison in unflattering close-ups, and cuts him off when the investigator’s eyes bug out after he refuses to comment on the filmmakers’ baldest accusations. Gibney may encourage viewers to condemn the police, but his self-righteous editorializing doesn’t make up for the lack of convincing evidence.

No Stone Unturned
Directed by Alex Gibney
Abramorama
Opens November 10, Quad Cinema

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