The Laramie Project

( 4 )

Overview

Laramie, WY, is a small town which became infamous overnight in the fall of 1998, when Matthew Shepard, a gay college student, was found tied to a fence after being brutally beaten and left to die, setting off a nationwide debate about hate crimes and homophobia. A month after the crime, Moises Kaufman, a writer and director with the New York City theater troupe the Tectonic Theater Project, traveled to Laramie with a handful of actors to interview people who lived in and around Laramie in preparation for an ...
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Overview

Laramie, WY, is a small town which became infamous overnight in the fall of 1998, when Matthew Shepard, a gay college student, was found tied to a fence after being brutally beaten and left to die, setting off a nationwide debate about hate crimes and homophobia. A month after the crime, Moises Kaufman, a writer and director with the New York City theater troupe the Tectonic Theater Project, traveled to Laramie with a handful of actors to interview people who lived in and around Laramie in preparation for an upcoming production; Kaufman's goal was to create a play that focused not on the assault on Matthew Shepard, but on the community where such an attack could happen, and how many of the citizens reacted to the crime. The result was The Laramie Project, which was first performed in early 2000, and was performed in Laramie in the fall of that year, two years after Kaufman and his associates first arrived in the city. The Laramie Project is a film adaptation of Kaufman's play, in which the thoughts and opinions of Laramie residents from all points of the political spectrum are presented alongside re-enacted excerpts from the trials of the two men who attacked Matthew Shepard. Produced for the premium cable network HBO, The Laramie Project was adapted for the screen by Moises Kaufman, who served as both writer and director. The distinguished cast includes Dylan Baker, Steve Buscemi, Peter Fonda, Janeane Garofolo, Laura Linney, Amy Madigan, Camryn Manheim, Christina Ricci, and Frances Sternhagen.
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
The horrific 1998 murder of young gay man Matthew Shepard inspired this unique and amazing film, the product of New York playwright Moises Kaufman and an impressive coalition of stage, screen, and TV actors. When Laramie, Wyoming became infamous as the location of Shepard's brutal killing, Kaufman and members of his Tectonic Theater Project went there and conducted more than 200 interviews with citizens, shaping their words into a play dramatizing the townspeople's conflicting feelings about the crime. This film goes one step further, incorporating the experiences of Kaufman, et al. into the narrative, with actors portraying Kaufman, his associates, and the residents of Laramie. Among the large and talented ensemble cast you'll see many familiar faces, including those of Steve Buscemi, Dylan Baker, Jeremy Davies, Clea Duvall, Peter Fonda, Ben Foster, Janeane Garofalo, Joshua Jackson especially moving as a Laramie bartender haunted by the belief that he might have prevented the crime, Laura Linney, Amy Madigan, Camryn Mannheim, Christina Ricci, and Mark Webber. Intercutting reenacted interviews with actual news footage lends an eerie cast to these somber proceedings, which dramatize the dualities of a community that proclaims its adherence to Christian principles and yet cannot unanimously condemn the murderers of one of its own. Occasionally melodramatic and self-important, The Laramie Project is also heartrending and impossible to forget. Kaufman and executive producer Ross Katz provide a feature-length commentary for the DVD.
All Movie Guide - Brian J. Dillard
Innovative, mournful, and politically charged, this piece of journalistic theater translates powerfully to the screen. Helmed by its original stage director, cinematic newcomer Moises Kaufman, The Laramie Project manages not only to sidestep the obvious emotions milked by TV movies about the Matthew Shepard case, but also to reject all of their hackneyed techniques. Compiled by the Tectonic Theater Project from hundreds of hours of interviews with the residents of Laramie, WY, where Shepard was murdered, the film is more of a sociological interrogation than a dramatic story. Fragmentary and spare, the material benefits enormously from Kaufman's precise pacing, judicious use of split screens and wide-open exteriors, and sensitive direction of a motley Hollywood cast. Christina Ricci has one of the punchiest roles as Romaine Patterson, Shepard's fiery lesbian best friend, but even Laura Linney, in just one extended scene and a few snippets, manages to nail one particular outlook and set of responses, contributing to the mosaic of individual thoughts and emotions that make up the piece. Performers as diverse as '60s survivor Peter Fonda and Dawson's Creek teenybopper Joshua Jackson exhibit the same careful attention to craft. Amy Madigan deserves special mention for her grave cop role, which scans like Frances McDormand's part in Fargo drained of its humor and Minnesota kitsch. One of the few moments that rankles is the inclusion of actual news reports from the time of the murder; there's enough leftie celebrity glitz involved in the casting without seeing the real-life Ellen DeGeneres in footage of a vigil. Such minor quibbles aside, this is the most powerful film produced about the Shepard murder -- a stunning achievement considering the young man himself never appears.
Hollywood Reporter
The bottom line is the piece works brilliantly. Kirk Honeycutt

The bottom line is the piece works brilliantly. Kirk Honeycutt
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/21/2013
  • UPC: 883316757154
  • Original Release: 2001
  • Rating:

  • Source: Hbo Archives
  • Presentation: Pan & Scan
  • Time: 1:40:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 7,915

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The only Movie....

    The Laramie Project is a wonderful movie, and is infact the only movie that ever made me cry. I first say The Laramie Project done as a one act play at my highschool a few years back, and it touched me like no other high school play had. Next, I saw the movie on TV, where it actually caused me to cry, and then I bought it because it is so great. I recommend this movie to anyone, if they are for or against gays (I am fanatically for) It is a movie that will touch your heart.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2010

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews