Indie Gems: Lost For Life

It's bad, but can it be fixed?

This documentary focuses on men that were handed life sentences without the possibility of parole for murders they committed while they were teenager. We hear briefly from them, where they are now, how they view their crimes. The doc's purpose is to show whether or not live without parole is an appropriate sentence for someone whose brain is still developing. We also see a few family members of victims from these type of crimes and how they feel on the subject.

I don't do nearly enough documentaries for Indie Gems. I tend to miss a lot of these myself if they're not in the Oscar buzz conversation. That's the sad truth about documentaries, they don't always get seen.

The documentary poses an interesting question, and one I can't say I agreed with prior to watching. The argument isn't whether or not they were mature enough to know the difference between right and wrong (they do) but whether or not maturing would make them okay to be in society. It's definitely a case by case thing. I think if a teenager murders someone, a few years in age doesn't make a big difference. It's like when Jim Bob Duggar tried to argue that his son wasn't a pedophile because he touched a 5 year old when he was 15 and not 16 like the definition states.

Of the subjects the documentary asks us to judge, one of them, Sean is absolutely the poster child for this argument. He made a mistake, recognized it, tried to better himself and others in prison. There are a few others that were there because of abuse they suffered as children prior to them committing crimes that should probably have them in a psychiatric hospital vs federal prison, and another pair where one shows remorse, and the other acts like a sociopath with helicopter parents. It's an interesting variety.

If there's one thing that hurts this documentary, it's the length. It's barely over and hour and so much more should've been covered from both sides of the argument. I wish they would've expanded.

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "You owe her a tremendous debt." 


  1. This sounds like an interesting and disturbing documentary. I may check it out.

  2. Barely an hour? That sounds lazy, particularly when you have an endlessly debatable topic such as this. I'm sure me and a couple friends could have an hour conversation on it with none of us doing any research. Without having seen it, it feels like they just dropped the ball.

    1. If it were labeled as a documentary short, I'd cut it some slack, but it wasn't. Maybe they didn't have the funds, but I wish they would've gone further with it. There was so much more to hear.


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