The parents of James Bulger, the two-year-old boy murdered in Liverpool in 1993, have criticized the decision maker for a short film about the case, which has been listed for an Oscar nomination.
Devotion, written and directed by Irish filmmaker Vincent Lambe, is based on police transcripts questioned by Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, who were 10 at the time, and were then convicted of the murder. It won best short film and special jury prize at the Cannes Lions festival in June 2018 (a separate event from the high-profile film festival), and continued to win the Grand Prix at the Odense Film Festival in Denmark, which qualified to be rated for an Oscar.
When he spoke to the Daily Mirror, Bulger's father Ralph said that Lambe had not contacted him. "Not even the producer of this movie has contacted me or any of James's family about this movie … It has been 26 years since my son was taken and killed, and then I've seen many documentaries and news stories about him. But I have never been so cut up and offended by something that shows so little compassion toward James and his family.
"I accept that this is a murder of such greatness, it will always be rewritten and discussed in the news, but making a movie so sympathetic to James's murderers is devastating."
Bulger's mother, Denise Fergus, in the look of the ITV talk show Loose Women, also criticized the filmmakers for not consulting her, asking for the Oscar to drop the movie from their shortlist. "I do not think [Lambe] had the right to do so … it has been put on the shortlist now for Oscar and I think it should be removed. "She accused Lambe of exploiting the tragedy." In my personal opinion, I think he is just trying to make his career great. And doing it during someone else's grief is just incredible and unbearable. "
Lambe had previously disappeared his movie during an interview at Good Morning Britain after the Academy had announced the short film for live action short film in December, when it was revealed that Detainment had made it to the last nine films. Lambe, a director of commercials and music videos, said that the movie "is not meant to cause further anxiety" to the family.
In a statement released in response to Fergus's look at Loose Women, Lambe said the movie "had not been made financially" and excused her from not contacting her before making the movie, but defended it as "in no way sympathetic to the murderers and does not attempt to apologize for them ". "There has been criticism for the film" humanizing "the killers, but if we cannot accept that they are human, we will never begin to understand what might have driven them to commit such a terrible crime. Something similar happens in the future is if we understand the reason for it. "
Thompson and Venables were both released in 2001 and gave new identities. Venables was returned to jail in 2010 over child pornography offenses; After being released in 2013, he pleaded guilty to child pornography crimes in 2018, and is currently imprisoned.
The Oscar nominations will be announced on 22 January.