Thursday, September 20, 2007

September 20th Log

2006, Dan Reed, United Kingdom
1st Viewing, DVD

After building a career of critical praise and accolades on political documentaries and television series, Straightheads (released in America on DVD as Closure) marks the feature directorial debut from Dan Reed. The film becomes a multiple layered examination of revenge from both the female and male perspectives and observes how ultimately the views change in the face of vengeance. For the most part the film does a fine job of this and effectively gives us a mysteriousness that is required. The performances are fine, with Gillian Anderson being especially good. The marketing of the film has compared it to Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs and the comparisons seem justified. Straightheads was not as well received but it is a better film then I anticipated.

2007, Anthony Giacchino, United States
1st Viewing, DVD

Winner of two awards at the Philadelphia Film Festival, The Camden 28 is an excellently made and powerful documentary. Director Anthony Giacchino reveals the relatively unknown story of a group of human rights activists efforts to rebel the Vietnam War by burglarizing a Draft Office in Camden. Ratted out by a mole 28 members were charged with felonies, only to be acquitted. Over 30 years, this documentary gives their story and becomes a powerful tale of betrayal, of forgiveness, and of ethics in the face of government exploitation. If the film has a flaw it is over the course of it’s ending, which goes a bit to far. But otherwise, this is an insightful and moving documentary, made with effective kindness and beauty.


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