It has been 10 years since the charred bodies of Mary Fisher and her two children, Bobby and Brittany, were found brutally murdered in their incinerated Scottsdale home. The father of the family, Robert William Fisher was never questioned in the crime, having vanished in the night, never to be seen again. For many, this horrible moment is now just a fading memory. The Scottsdale home that was destroyed to conceal the crime has been rebuilt, and life in Scottsdale has returned to normal. “Where is Robert Fisher,” a new documentary by New York filmmaker Charlie Minn (A Nightmare in Las Cruces, 8 Murders a Day) brings this horrific crime back to the forefront; in the news and into our consciousness. “Where is Robert Fisher,” takes a new look at the heinous crime that shocked both Scottsdale and the nation, exploring all of the ghastly details and calling for the capture of Robert William Fisher.
Minn got the idea to make a documentary on the Fisher story after an interview with local TV anchor John Hook. “I was on his show (Fox 10 news) in February of this year talking about my film ‘8 Murders a Day’ and I asked him point blank ‘are there any unsolved, true crimes in this area?’ Right away, he mentioned the Fisher story.” Minn said. Minn wasted no time creating “Where is Robert Fisher.” After researching the Fisher case early in 2011, Minn began filming this summer and completed the documentary in time for the 10-year anniversary of the crime. Minn’s documentary is bursting with archival footage and lurid police photographs, returning over and over to images of the charred remains of Mary Fisher and her two children. The frenetic haste in which the film was conceived and completed is quite apparent in the finished product. Home videos of the Fisher family fill in much of the screen time, and the pacing of the film sputters and spurts with the redundancy of several scenes. Theories abound in the film, with interviews from neighbors, family members and investigators, all offering their solution to the Fisher mystery. The theories range from the plausibly coherent to the blatantly out-there. Ironically, Fisher’s sister (Mary Fisher’s family declined to take part in this film) and former Arizona Republic reporter Tom Zoellner seem to be the only people approaching the myriad of clues involved in this crime with any sense of rationality, while Scottsdale police, FBI agents and director Minn himself, all fervently whack away at the theory piñata, eagerly gobbling up every tidbit that rattles out. “Where is Robert Fisher” follows the same cookie cutter concept of Minn’s earlier true crime documentary “A Nightmare in Las Cruces” (also released this year) with 911 recordings playing over crime scene footage, a droning soundtrack and a quasi-exploitation of gory police photos and video.
Where a desire for justice, change or awareness are the usual ingredients for a good documentary, Minn’s film seems to demand not just the capture of Robert Fisher, but torch-bearing vengeance, clouding his creativity with anger and warping his storytelling with seething contempt for the antagonist. For anyone with an interest in the Fisher story, “Where is Robert Fisher” is the most complete update on the progress of the Fisher investigation. Scottsdale police still consider the murder of the Fisher family the worst crime in the history of Scottsdale. The reward for Fisher’s capture is still at 100,000 dollars and Fisher remains on the list of “Scottsdale’s most wanted fugitives” as well as the FBI’s “10 most wanted.” “Where is Robert Fisher” provides an opportunity to reexamine all we do know about this chilling crime, while at the same time, strongly pointing out that although the memories of this tragedy may have faded over the years, clearly, the emotions have not.
Final Take – Anger and ashes.
- Where is Robert Fischer
True crime documentary about the crimes and subsequent search for Robert William Fischer.