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THIS REVOLUTION (director/writer: Stephen Marshall; cinematographer: Brian Jackson; editors: Nathan Crooker/Stephen Marshall; music: Raymond Leon Roker; cast: Nathan Crooker (Jake), Rosario Dawson (Tina), Amy Redford (Chloe), Brendan Sexton III (Daniel), Cynthia Garrett (BCN news anchor), Brett DelBuono (Richie), Immortal Technique (himself); Runtime: 95; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Lisa Kawamoto Hsu; Co Op.; 2005)
“Its fiction tale is shrill, lifeless and uninteresting.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

First time writer-director Stephen Marshall takes a crack at tracing events during the Republican National Convention (RNC) in 2004 in NYC, as the Grand Old Party convenes to anoint war prez W. with another turn at leadership while in the street there were heated demos from radical groups. The ambitious but unfocused film blends together a fictional story with real-life events, that has a few good scenes in the streets but its fiction tale is shrill, lifeless and uninteresting.

The film is best noted for several arrests made at the protest, resulting in the arrest of Rosario Dawson, the film’s star (which was caught on camera and made it into the film’s final cut, and actually tells us all we have to know about the events at the RNC). Though it pays homage to Haskell Wexler’s gripping Medium Cool (1969) about the responsibilities and reactions of a news cameraman caught up in historical events, it fails to have the same successful results as it fails to leave us with much to think about that isn’t strident or banal.

Jake Cassavetes (Nathan Crooker) is a hotshot network TV reporter, just back from Iraq, who is assigned to the GOP convention. The reporter has a stormy relationship with his pushy network producer girlfriend Chloe (Amy Redford, daughter of Robert), a cynical corporate stooge who nags him to ‘kiss up’ to the top brass — and to get footage that is the most violent to improve the ratings and show its viewers that the anarchists can’t be trusted. Our boy during his RNC assignment also meets a war widow (Rosario Dawson) with a young son and begins a romance with the spicy widow. The most serious scene has the troubled little boy (Brendan Sexton III) in flashback asking his volunteer soldier father why he has to go to fight in Iraq. Dad earnestly tells him, “We don’t want any more buildings falling down, right?”

Jake feels betrayed because the network hands over the tapes he made of interviews with masked anarchists to Homeland Security and he rebels at the collusion between the network and the government only to become persona non grata at the network.

It all leads to a surprising third act of revenge,but the pic lost my interest long before that as Marshall proves to be more of an editorializing activist than a provocative filmmaker. Good intentions alone do not make a movie good.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”