Thursday, December 27, 2012

Gun Fight

Colin Goddard, survivor of the Virginia Tech massacre
In the wake of the Virgina Tech shootings of 2007, where 32 lives were claimed by a sole gunman, Oscar winning filmmaker Barbara Kopple ("Harlan County, USA")  opted to take an open-minded approach in her documentary on the gun control discussion, where she interviews (mostly) level-headed people on both sides of the issue, in addition to gunshot victims and trauma ward staff at a Philadelphia hospital, and finally one of the few survivors of the VT massacre. Kopple's documentary is admirably told without grandstanding (a la Michael Moore), narration, and with almost no intertitles to guide her film. She offers reasonable and seemingly obvious solutions (such as across-the-board background checks) which should appear acceptable to both sides, and also offers the reasons why these measures are continually thwarted. Although the film does lose momentum towards the end, its point remains abundantly clear: although the unthinkable horrors such as which occurred in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14th capture our national sympathies and place the gun control debate at the forefront of  political discussion, they remain only a pin drop of the gun violence which plagues our country every week.