There are two different Gilberto Valles: the “Cannibal Cop” condemned in the media as a criminal mastermind who fantasized about kidnapping and eating multiple women, and the innocent family man who, as he would like us to believe, “couldn’t hurt a fly.” Thought Crimes attempts to reconcile these two very different sides of the same man within the context of a legal case that raises broader questions about what distinguishes deviant fantasy from criminal action and how law enforcement can prevent horrific crimes from happening without infringing on freedom of speech.
Directed by Erin Lee Carr and produced by Andrew Rossi, Thought Crimes aired on HBO in May, 2015. It has been praised for its rigorous treatment of the case, with the New York Times calling it “a primer for the century ahead” that “gives voice to all sides in the debate over the implications of the case.” The Guardian also praised the film in a four star review: “Here’s when you know you have a compelling documentary. There are sequences in Thought Crimes... in which I was ready to hop out of my seat, fuelled with rage at the gross injustices of our legal system. Moments later, I wanted to volunteer to lock up the perpetrator and throw away the key myself.”
The film sparked further discussion of the case and its broader implications, and months following its release, the government’s appeal was overruled.
Valle is now a free man.