(directors: Dan Lindsay/TJ Martin; editors: TJ Martin, Scott Stevenson, Dan Lindsay; music: Danny Bensi, Saunder Jurriaans; Runtime: 114; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Simon Chinn/Jonathan Chinn/Sarah Gibson; Lightbox; 2017)
“Is worth seeing because the visuals from the incident are still so powerful.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Dan Lindsay and TJ Martin (“Undefeated”) co-direct a penetrating historical documentary, using interviews and archive footage, recalling the Watts riot in April 1992 from twenty-five years ago after the acquittal verdict in the Rodney King trial of the four police officers who beat him. It sparked several days of protests in Los Angeles that resulted in at least 54 deaths and a billion dollars property damage caused by arson and looting. All the cops were acquitted despite such explicit evidence revealed on videotape that was filmed by a white bystander named George Holliday. It showed that on March 3, 1991, in an incident that went national, several Los Angeles police officers beating an unarmed black man named Rodney King.
This historical document lets the viewer see for themselves what brought about such anger in the black community, as it relays the racial turmoil in the inner-cities and the divide in the country over racial matters. Unfortunately the same conditions still apply today.
It seems any time is a good time to show that the racial conflict is alive and well today; a film like this is as timely as it was in the past. This is one of many solid documentaries that forces us to confront our racial demons and perceptions about the riots, and is worth seeing because the visuals from the incident are still so powerful. Its strength is in how emotionally sound it is and how it so forcefully depicts the impact racial issues have on us. It also smartly links the problems of race and class together.
REVIEWED ON 2/12/2018 GRADE: B