When children kill: Controversial Oscar-nominated film explores James Bulger murder

Who has the right to tell someone's story? That question is at the heart of a debate surrounding the Oscar-nominated film Detainment, about the real-life murder of two-year-old James Bulger.
Director Vincent Lambe's latest film is called Detainment, about the real-life murder of Liverpool toddler James Bulger. (Twelve Media)

Who has the right to tell someone's story? That question is at the heart of a debate surrounding the Oscar-nominated short film Detainment. The film is about the 1993 murder of two-year-old James Bulger at the hands of two 10-year-old boys in the U.K. It was a case that shook the country and dominated headlines for months. 

Director Vincent Lambe is now facing criticism for his retelling of the story and for failing to consult the families involved. The film is a part of an ongoing conversation about whether there's something to be gained from this kind of entertainment.

Lambe joined Tom Power to discuss his motivation to tell this story and what he thinks of the controversy it's stirred up.

"People like to think of those two boys as being different and being evil, and it's easier for them to cope with it when they just dismiss them as evil, but we don't learn anything from that," Lambe told Tom Power. "That's a big part of why I wanted to make this film."

Detainment is being screened at the TIFF Lightbox tomorrow night in Toronto. 

Produced by Ben Jamieson

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