Wednesday, 20 April 2016


Tragedy for one family is travesty for society as a whole in Marc Silver's intelligent, compassionate 3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets. And his film unfolds as such, steeped in a sombre tone that might imply a particular verdict in the case of the Jordan Davis murder trial to those unaware of its outcome; Silver's actual implication is that Davis' death was devastating enough, what it represents is disturbing enough, that lightness and joy are mere trivialities. Hope, however, is not, hope for the future unearthed in nostalgia for the past and agony in the present. The film is overtly political, and may separate opinion in its audience; it struck a chord with me, and so I have little choice but to admire it. Regardless, 3 1/2 Minutes is a smartly made documentary, achieving more than a pithy recapitulation of the facts in the trial of Michael Dunn through a combination of empathy and sympathy, expressed via Emiliano Battista and Gideon Gold's astute editing. The film delineates the precise impact of each and every claim, every statement, whether in contextualising it or in acknowledging its effect upon specific parties. A response might unwittingly raise a suggestion, that suggestion registers with a person, that person's reaction, or lack thereof, thus communicates the breadth and depth of emotion that so small, so simple, so life-changing an act can evoke. And explicit throughout is Silver's incrimination of the complex, corrosive societal structure that begot this awful act, established and perpetuated by the powerful; today, the politicians, and their dimwitted mimics, jumped up on phony righteousness that this one conviction will do little to allay. It's only a victory in the immediate face of tragedy, and thus remains a travesty for society. Girl, does this film strike a chord with me indeed.