No Stone Unturned
“Why this place? I certainly would love to know,” asks a survivor of the Loughinisland massacre. On the night of 18th June 1994, masked gunmen burst into O’Tooles Pub in the tiny village in Northern Ireland and opened fire. Six people were killed in an attack that was attributed to the Ulster Volunteer Force. Director Alex Gibney’s documentary shines a light on key parts of the subsequent investigation during which stones went very much unturned.
Using a combination of interviews with survivors and relatives of those who died, archive footage and dramatisations that are reminiscent of a particularly disturbing episode of Crimewatch, Gibney paints a rather straightforward though emotionally involving picture of an appallingly handled situation. There is suggestion of police collusion with the perpetrators and, true or not, an objective observer would have trouble legitimising the ensuing handling of the case by the police, with key pieces of evidence deliberately destroyed under curious pretences.
Alex Gibney’s soft-spoken American accent makes an appearance as he begins to provide narration, giving a perfunctory though helpful explanation of the the troubles in Northern Ireland for the uninitiated. Selective language somewhat positions the documentary as a mystery, and it’s one that is at least partially solved, with key suspects being identified with corroborating evidence. Indeed, after the film’s completion and initial screenings, victims and families of the deceased are using the conclusions drawn by the documentary to call for charges to be brought, more than 23 years after the murders.
The film’s rather legitimate assertion that the perpetrators of this atrocity could have been identified and made accountable many years ago is a frustrating experience, but this is perhaps the point, allowing the audience to feel the same horrific bewilderment of those who were directly affected by the tragedy. No Stone Unturned never sensationalises its subject matter, and the anger conveyed by those affected is restrained, though still very much raw.
No Stone Unturned is released nationwide on 10th November 2017.
Watch the trailer for No Stone Unturned here: