I knew rather little about Malcolm X prior to seeing this documentary, but it does such a good job of bringing you along & keeping you up to speed that I never felt lost - though I did rewind a few times to be sure I had heard/understood exactly what was said. Since I have little prior knowledge of Malcolm it's difficult for me to assess precisely how honest/accurate this portrayal was - but it certainly felt genuine. They had clearly put quite a bit of effort into their research as well, and seemingly done a very good job of digging out appropriate persons to interview.
By way of constructive criticism it is worth considering that at times the film maker would have done well to juxtapose some of the stories and comments being offered by different interviewees. For a masterful (albeit so much so that full emulation is beyond the capacities of most of us mortals) example of such film making you may wish to consider the example of "The Sorrow and the Pity", by Marcel Ophüls. That film assesses the choices different people made in the face of questions of complicity with systemic cruelty and evil in Nazi occupied France. Similar questions are present in the matters treated by this film, and I rather felt the pathetic and latterly rationalised cowardice of Philbert & Wilfred X, and the confident unemotional and dehumanised ruthlessness of the bald former NOI captain (whose name escapes me), very much echoed some of the more glaring moments from Ophüls masterpiece. The difference was Bagwell basically let it slide, whereas Ophüls juxtaposed such material with comments from others, forcing the audience to confront the full ugliness of either or both the context & the participants subsequent choice.
Nevertheless, this was a very well made documentary. I note that a previous reviewer suggested it is one of the best he's ever seen, & I feel comfortable saying the same. To say it is less well done than "The Sorrow & the Pity" as I have essentially done - is in actuality very high praise.
While I gave this film a 9 it was either that or a 10, and if there was a 9.5 category it definitely would have gone in there.
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