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An Act of Conscience (1997)

TV Movie  |   |  Documentary  |  15 April 1997 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 53 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 1 critic

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Title: An Act of Conscience (TV Movie 1997)

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Credited cast:
Betsy Corner ...
Randy Kehler ...
Narrator (voice)


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tax | independent film | See All (2) »





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15 April 1997 (USA)  »

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Virtue tarnished
25 September 2002 | by (Detroit) – See all my reviews

This is a documentary about a couple of tax resisters, Randy Kehler and Betsy Corner, who lose their house to the IRS. They both seem to be sincere people of the highest principles: whether or not you agree with their politics, you can't help but admire their courage. Even the IRS agents seemed to admire them, albeit grudgingly. The narration (read by Martin Sheen) reminds us that tax protest is as American as apple pie, going all the way back to the Revolution and earlier. This is a lesson that needs to be retaught every few years. There is something fundamental and very beautiful about the ideals and actions of Kehler and Corner at the start of this movie.

Unfortunately, they let themselves be exploited and their principles cheapened by as nasty a collection of opportunists as you will ever see all in one place. These loathsome exploiters have the gall to accuse the young blue-collar family that move into the house of stealing the house from the original owners. "How can you raise your son here, knowing that you stole this house?" asks one of these creeps. Meanwhile, the fact that the new owners are the only honest-to-God born and bred proletarians in the movie, surrounded by leisured bourgeois meddlers, is embarrassingly obvious.

Pete Seeger and Daniel Berrigan show up. The media descend on the premises. The exploiters hold hands in a circle for the camera, and chant slogans and sing "We will not be moved." A few idiots play retarded white-boy rhythms on the bongos while the others smile and nod appreciatively (like they can't wait to buy the CD). Thoreau would've tossed his beans.

I happen to agree with Kehler's and Corner's principles. The courage they showed in actually living their lives in accordance with these principles more than makes up for the rest of it. I just wish they'd had the courage to tell all the coat-tailers to get lost.

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