I don’t know what else to say, but “wow”! Ava DuVernay is definitely not disappointing. She has once again created a fantastic movie full of surprises and opens the eyes to so many. I knew once I heard about this project that I would enjoy it. I loved Selma (2015) and had no doubt that she is an amazing filmmaker.
I liked all of the allusions to The Birth of a Nation (1915) and the countless references to past works to show how they’ve changed our perception on black crime. I also loved how she used presidential policies in the current era to show how black people especially were hurt by the laws that were put into place. I thought DuVernay knew exactly what she was doing when she was making this historic documentary. She took the words of Nixon, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton and showed how they all but tricked people into believing that black crime was a problem.
The best part of this documentary was the sheer amount of amazing academic people that DuVernay was able to bring in. She brought in people like Angela Davis, Henry Louis Gates, James Kilgore and many others. She was able to inspire people to watch this film and just take it all in. I thought it was an expertly crafted documentary. I was never bored or uninterested watching this thought-provoking piece of art. I thought her information was so thoughtful and amazing. I hope DuVernay wins some award because this movie was seriously great.
Another great part of this documentary was the music transitions. Starting with “Reagan” by Killer Mike and going throughout the history of hip-hop and R&B, DuVernay uses the lyrics in the songs to show exactly how people were feeling at the time. She used this music not only to tell her story, but she actually showed what the main voices in the community were thinking at the time.
Overall, I think this is a must see in 2016. More people need to know how the 13th amendment has been a tool to enslave African Americans and minorities. I wish she would’ve started a cause in the film. I understand why didn’t because it would make her film feel biased and that’s okay if it convinces more people that this is an issue. People need to know how they’ve been deceived by the government and how we need to stand up for each other. I don’t believe this is propaganda; I believe it’s the truth.