What Trial in the Outback: The Lindy Chamberlain Story is all about without spoiling the show
You may not know the name Lindy Chamberlain. You certainly know the most famous words she ever said, at least in some form. She is the mother of the child in Australia who was allegedly killed by a dingo. The phrase “the dingo ate my baby” has been parodied in many places. Maybe most famous of all was a bit on Seinfeld although the five infamous words have been in other places in pop culture as well.
Trial in the Outback is the real story behind what happened. There’s not much comical about this actual story. A very young girl was killed. Many speculated at the time that Lindy was the actual murderer. The idea of a dingo eating a baby was something people couldn’t fathom. It was too ridiculous, even for Australia.
What was good about Trial in the Outback
It was probably cathartic for Lindy and her family to tell their side of the story. We get an indepth look at what happened prior, during, and after the ordeal. There isn’t much more they could have touched on. This isn’t a case with a whole lot of suspects. Either Lindy killed her daughter and covered it up or a dingo really did the deed.
Sam Neill takes on the task of narrating this documentary. That’s right. The Jurassic Park guy! A New Zealand native who is close enough to Australia, he actually played Lindy’s husband alongside Meryl Streep in a film about these events. He doesn’t add much to the documentary.
What could have made Trial in the Outback better
There are actually a lot of gripes with this documentary. It reminds me a bit of the newer Lorena documentary except I was less familiar with this one’s outcome. However, seeing Lindy in her kitchen talking to filmmakers reveals early on that she’s not actually in prison. It was a fine choice to make, but it removed any intrigue in the story early on as to whether or not she was guilty.
Trial in the Outback is a three-part series recovering a lot of what everyone already saw and why certain things happened. There was definitely corruption at play. Whether it was to protect tourism in the northern part of Australia or something else, Lindy got a raw deal.
What made Trial in the Outback a less-than-stellar documentary was the length. This should have been two parts of one film. There didn’t seem to be much new content. A documentary with the word “trial” in it didn’t discuss much evidence. It was more about how she was portrayed in the media. It’s a fine direction to take the film. I just found it tiresome way sooner than when it finally ended.
Is Trial in the Outback worth watching?
I’d say read the Wikipedia page instead. Hearing how poorly Lindy was treated by the media and public isn’t an interesting enough story for me. She doesn’t seem like much of a victim. I can almost understand why some have their doubts about her. Anyone who benefits from the death of their child, even if unintentionally, comes across as a little shady. I know this documentary provides answers as to why Lindy felt the need to write a book and I almost don’t blame her. What’s missed is how brutal the death of Azaria must have been.
Overall Score: 4 out of 10
Trial in the Outback wasn’t badly done. The focus didn’t seem to always be in the right place and it was just too dang long. If the point was to show how unjustly Lindy was treated, the series could have been over much sooner.
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