Deliberate Intent is a really good movie about a topic that never goes away.
When does freedom of the press go too far? That is the question at the root of this movie and it keeps coming up time and time again in our current lives. Even if this was a made for TV movie, it was well written and beautifully acted.
Deliberate Intent is based on a true story. A want to be hit man commits a triple murder following a killers manual called “Hit Man.” In truth the person who committed the crimes was actually goaded into it and the family of the victims sues the publisher as an accomplice to murder.
As both a writer and a publisher I find this subject matter ever green. There is always a fine line between being accurate and going too far. You may remember the television series Burn Notice got beat up a bit early on for its talk about how to build bombs, booby traps, and other weapons. In later episodes they took a much cheesier approach which got them in trouble with the fan base. They finally seemed to hit a sweet spot showing in detail how to build defenses, like putting phone books in car doors for bullet proofing, and cheesing the weapons creation portion.
Balancing act due to this case
That balancing act was all due to this case. If you create a black bag tutorial or instruction manual, you can find yourself in court when someone actually uses it to do harm. Books like these surface from time to time. Some of you may remember “The Poor Man’s James Bond” which was immortalized in the first Nightmare on Elm Street. That wasn’t a prop. The book really does exist. Actually the series exists and some of the booby traps used in the movie, such as the sledge hammer hinged on the ceiling with a trip string to the door really was spelled out in it.
For anyone involved in writing or publishing, this is a good movie to watch once every 5-10 years to keep the lessons fresh in your mind.