The Witness is riveting as an exposé of an exposé, in that it revisits the infamous 1964 Kitty Genovese murder case, in which Genovese was supposedly stabbed repeatedly, over several minutes, while bystanders did nothing to intervene. The incident became a textbook case study in social psychology, but director James D. Solomon—in detailing the obsessive investigation of Kitty’s younger brother William and employing inventive animation to recreate the night in question—unveils the truth (or, rather, doubt) behind that oft-repeated story. Less enthralling, however, is the movie’s use of William’s personal journey as a framing device. This is not to question the choice itself or, certainly, the authenticity of this trauma victim’s emotions. Rather, there is something forced about the structure. Mildly confrontational moments with other family members, an odd meeting with the son of Kitty’s killer, and William’s breakthrough encounter near the end all feel too beholden to the documentary’s purposes. As conceived and executed, they exist to serve the film first. The Witness may function as potent journalism, then, but it also leaves the faint whiff of reality television.