POSSIBLE SPOILERS - READ AT YOUR OWN RISK The film itself, as a film, may not be worth the 9 I gave it. It is obviously pretty slanted, though I disagree with the other review that said the crime didn't smell of racism, and it's got some pretty shoddy editing tricks and a fairly disoriented narrative. That said, this was likely done on purpose for effect, so take that how you like. I gave it a 9, rather than say a 6.5, because of the material and how important I think it is for people to see stories like this one. While you may or may not conclude that the crime itself was based in racism, the blatant racism within the community and all the way through the criminal process was jarring, to say the least. I'm certainly not oblivious to the fact that racism is still just as prominent as ever but you really get a good, albeit severely upsetting, glimpse of it in action in one small southern town. The side story of the sheriff is equally as telling and infuriating and, I thought, was an excellent addition to the overall arch of the film. I didn't really like the director (she's not in the film but there are some audio bits of her) as she seemed to either not be willing to ask some of the hard questions that one would want to ask in her position (or at least I would), or she just passed on or missed the opportunity. That said, the fact that she does let Norman Neesmith go on and on at times without interruption allows for some fairly stirring moments which are quite beneficial to the political power of the film. He really shows himself as a monster towards the end. And again, while the crime itself may or may not have been a result of racism (I think it's clear it was, I truly don't believe Norman would have held two white boys hostage before shooting at them but who know) the end result really hits home how real a problem racism still is in America, not just in Montgomery County. ALL Politics aside, at the end of the day the boy who died didn't deserve to die. And while Norman may or may not have meant to kill him mentally, he did physically. It was not an accident. He used his gun to keep the boys there and then when they tried to run away he shot at them. That's what guns do. Then after taking a life he has the gall to say "what about me?".. A truly despicable sight. And if you're a hard-right, gun-totin', shoot-first-ask-later kind of person who dreams of yesteryear when things were good and wholesome and a black person knew their place, well then you'll probably hate this movie tremendously.
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One year after the town merges its segregated proms, photographer Gillian Laub documents a divisive murder case in a small Georgia town.
October 5, 2021