Kavanaugh was sworn in as the 114th justice of the U.S. Supreme Court in October of 2018 after a narrow 50-48 roll call following a wrenching debate over sexual misconduct. He strenuously denied the allegations of Christine Blasey Ford, who says he sexually assaulted her when they were teens.
Many people referenced in the film, from Kavanaugh himself to several of Ramirez's friends who were allegedly there, similarly declined to speak or never responded.
“Justice” is especially critical of the FBI investigation that took place after the hearings. Through FOIA requests the filmmakers found that there were some 4,500 tips sent to the tipline that went uninvestigated.
One of Ramirez’s friends from Yale who was interviewed for the film provided text messages in which a mutual friend admits to being contacted by “Kavanaugh’s people” and participated in the narrative that Ramirez didn’t remember things correctly.
Blasey Ford appears in new footage only in the first several moments of “Justice,” asking Liman, a filmmaker known for “Swingers” and “The Bourne Identity,” why he’s making this film — a question that he doesn’t quite answer.
In a Q&A after the film, Liman said he was simply outraged after watching her testimony in 2018. The making of the film, which they self-financed, was shrouded in secrecy. Everyone signed nondisclosure agreements, Liman said, and they even had code names for those who agreed to participate. He said that people are “terrified” and that those who came forward are “heroes.”
Most of the focus is on telling Ramirez’s story — where she came from, how she ended up at Yale and what kind of person she is and was. Several academics specializing in trauma, as well as lawyers, help explain why memory of traumatic events is reliably fractured and how those gaps can be weaponized by prosecutors.
“Justice’s” surprise inclusion in the festival was announced on Thursday, the first day of the festival, but it quickly became one of the most anticipated films in a slate of over 100. At least part of the reason for something like “Justice” to debut at Sundance is to drum up buzz and secure a distributor. As many of the lawyers in the film say, the stakes are whether or not Kavanaugh perjured himself under oath.
Asked what he wants to happen when audiences see “Justice,” Liman said, “I kind of feel like the job ends with the film and what happens afterwards in beyond my control.”
Standing beside him, his producer Amy Hardy said she disagreed. Hardy said she hopes it triggers outrage and leads to “a real investigation with subpoena powers.”
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