The Promise full movie review - Compelling documentary about a possible miscarriage of justice
This has just been shown on BBC4 in the UK as "Killing for Love." The BBC gave no indication that this is a German production. But it explains why Jens, who speaks excellent English in court, speaks German here.
The original title also may have been too partisan for the BBC. The corporation is perhaps not as convinced as the film makers of Jens's innocence. Whatever the case, the film will fascinate those unfamiliar with the 1990 trial, allegedly the first in the US to be televised, which resulted in long jail terms for Jens and his accomplice Elizabeth. Both were found guilty of the murder of Elizabeth's parents. But Jens claimed that Elizabeth was the killer and he took the blame. It is an unusual murder mystery in that both are intelligent and articulate. He's a diplomat's son, she's the child of wealthy Canadian parents, who affects an English accent. From the beginning the film makers feature participants who are on Jens's side. One says that he could tell Elizabeth was an accomplished liar. But their investigation brings in private detectives who uncover a third suspect (who denies culpability) and unknown DNA at the crime scene. This is surely sufficient to re-open the case. But the authorities in Virginia, where the crimes were committed, will not consider this. Nor will they allow Jens to complete his sentence in Germany or for him to be interviewed again. Much of the footage is of the trial, which was shot on videotape that is now showing its age. But the story is extraordinary, horrible, romantic and shocking and will enthrall all lovers of true crime mysteries.The BBC's iPlayer VOD service features another hour of material.