Controversial James Bulger film 'Detainment' nominated for Oscar

22 January 2019, 13:58 | Updated: 22 January 2019, 14:01

Detainment James Bulger film poster
Actors Ely Solan and Leon Hughes play Jon Venables and Robert Thompson. Picture: IMBD film poster

A controversial film about recreating the police interviews with killers on Jon Venables and Robert Thompson will be released this year. Who is the director? What is the release date? And will it win an Oscar? All the pot and cast details have been revealed.

A short film about the murder of James Bulger has been nominated for an Oscar, it was announced today - despite the tragic lad's family claiming it sympathises with the killers.

Detainment, which is 30 minutes long and has been nominated for 'Best Short Film (Live Action) in this year's Academy Awards, was directed by Vincent Lambe.

It recreates police interviews with killers Jon Venables and Robert Thompson who were just 10-years-old when they kidnapped and murdered two-year-old James in 1993.

Thompson and Venables were charged on 20 February 1993 with Bulger's abduction and murder. They were found guilty on 24 November 1993, making them the youngest convicted murderers in modern English history.

James Bulger film release date

According to IMBD the controversial film is set to be released in May 2018. It's thought the film could earn the director an Oscar after it was shortlisted this year.

James Bulger film cast

Unknown actors Ely Solan and Leon Hughes will take on the respective roles of Jon Venables and Robert Thompson.

Elsewhere, Will O'Connell, who has made appearances in Little Women and Game of Thrones will star as Detective Dale and actor David Ryan will play Detective Scott.

Tara Breathnach will be playing the role of Susan Venables, Jon's mother, while Kathy Monahan will take on the role of Robert's mother Anne Thomson.

James Bulger film director

Detained is being helmed by director Vincent Lambe, and the film caused more controversy after it was shortlisted for an Academy Award.

Despite the initial backlash, the director has defended his decision to make the film and appeared on Good Morning Britain to talk about his decision.

Speaking to presenter Ben Shepherd about why he chose the Bulger case as the subject for his film, the 38-year-old director said: "What I saw was not two evil monsters with horns on their heads but two ten year old boys who had done something absolutely horrific.

"I think a lot of people feel its wrong to humanise those boys, but if people can't accept the fact that they are human beings they will never be able to begin to understand what could have driven them to commit such a crime.

"The only way to prevent something like this happening again in the future is to understand the cause of it."

Despite standing by his decision to make the film he did acknowledge that he failed to contact the Bulger family beforehand.

He admitted: "I think they wouldn’t want a film like this to be made."

Robert Thompson and Jon Venables Release From Prison
Venables (pictured) and Thompson were charged with Bulger's abduction and murder. Picture: Getty
Robert Thompson and Jon Venables Release From Prison
Thompson (pictured) and Venables were convicted on February 20 1993. Picture: Getty

What have James Bulgar's family said about the film?

The film has been slammed by James' father Ralph Bulger who has claimed that none of the family were contacted by Lambe about the film prior to him making it.

He told the Mirror: “Not once has the maker of this film contacted me or any of James’s family about this film.

“It has been 26 years since my son was taken and murdered and so I have seen many documentaries and news stories about him."

“But I have never been so cut up and offended by something that shows so little compassion to James and his family.

“I accept this is a murder of such magnitude it will always be written about and featured in the news but to make a film so ­sympathetic to James’s killers is devastating."