One day you’re walking towards the apartment you live in and out of the blue find yourself stabbed. You scream as loud as possible to ensure your neighbors hear your voice and alert the police. While they hear your plea, each of them, to be precise thirty-eight pairs of ears, completely disregard the alarming noise that comes from the outside of their cozy apartment and continue minding their own business; some go back to sleep while some perhaps continue reading a book while the attacker returns to finish what he had already started that will eventually take your precious life from you.
This, unfortunately, happened back in the cold March of 1964 when Kitty Genovese got killed by Winston Moseley while all her neighbors heard the noise but did little and chose not to interfere in the crime at a time when there was a chance to save the young woman’s life… It was more than fifty years ago when I first heard about the crime it shattered my mind. It happened not because of a woman who lost her life after being attacked by an insane man, but the circumstances that at the end of the day allowed Winston Moseley to succeed in his attempt. This is why my interest got doubled to see James Solomon’s documentary film “The Witness” where the brother of the victim, Bill Genovese, after so many years still can’t rest until he finds the answer that will help him to move on.…
There are in particular a few scenes that give you a close-up view of the crime that occurred decades ago. It’s the ones where a young woman imitates the last scream of Kitty Genovese, and the one where Bill Genovese speaks with the son of the murderer, Winston Moseley, who wanted to blame the black-and-white issue existing at the time, forgetting that one of his father’s victim was an African-American woman.
However, in James Solomon’s film you will see something that the media back then preferred not to talk about; the fact that Kitty Genovese loses her life in the hand of her friend who, despite the danger that awaited her outside of her comfortable apartment, left to check out the noise that came from outside the building. It is also about Bill Genovese’s vision of the event that occurred when he was little and how back then, still young and energetic, takes a stand to never become like the thirty-eight bystander witnesses of the crime against his sister.
In conclusion, Solomon’s film is powerful, important and again very relevant nowadays which merits itself to be seen. While it brings one of the most shocking crimes back to life, he follows Bill Genovese during his journey in his attempt to relive the heartbreaking day again to see how was it back then when his dearest sister wanted help to be rescued, but never got it.