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One Minute to Nine (a.k.a. Every Fucking Day of My Life)

Posted by martinteller on December 14, 2012

A document of Wendy Maldonado’s last four days of freedom.  The Oregon woman was sentenced to 10 years for the murder of her husband, Aaron (their teenage son, Randy, assisted with the killing and got 6 years).  Over the course of an hour, we learn about the horrifying abuse Aaron inflicted on his family on a daily basis.

I picked the wrong day to watch this movie.  Already reeling from the awful, senseless violence on the news, my spirits were definitely not lifted by this sobering story.  Director Tommy Davis takes a matter-of-fact approach to his subject, not passing judgment or shoving a message down your throat, but the tale speaks for itself.  There is no reason to doubt Wendy’s stories, corroborated by her family, friends, and neighbors.  Aaron Maldonado was a monstrous person, with fantasies of being a serial killer and no remorse about his abuse… just the wherewithal to make the right kind of threats to stop anyone from telling the police about it.

Wendy’s strength in the face of a lengthy incarceration is admirable.  She is quite resigned to what she’d done, although she is unsure what finally pushed her over the edge.  The relief of knowing that she’s removed the danger from her children’s lives clearly comforts her.  Without directly asking the question, the film makes us consider what we would have done (and whether, in the aftermath, we would have taken a lesser plea as she did, or put our faith in a jury).

The film’s simple, hands-off presentation is much appreciated.  The scenes of Wendy interacting with her loved ones, and telling her gut-wrenching stories of domestic violence, are augmented by clips from the heaps of home movies the Maldonados took.  Most of them are innocuous, showing a “normal” family enjoying each other’s company.  But there are chilling moments, as when Aaron gleefully plays with the skinned corpse of a deer he killed, or has a certain wild look in his eyes.  Rating: Very Good (81)

IMDb
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