7.1/10
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4 user 2 critic

Soldiers in the Army of God (2000)

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10 September 2000 (Canada)  »

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Spoofs Jerry Springer (1991) See more »

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Maybe the most balanced film on this issue.
27 October 2000 | by (Toronto, Ontario) – See all my reviews

Here is a candid inside look into some strange characters who may even be granted the dignity of having a point, even though it is clear that much of what they say to the camera might otherwise have been said to an empty room. The atmosphere in an audience screening this documentary is quite charged, and it is a refreshing surprise when we encounter a few laughs along the way. Some of it is as sharp as any fictional satire, and the film's only misstep may be a recreation flashback to a doctor shooting which has music added and stylistic devices that are better suited for unsolved mysteries. This just doesn't fit in with the rest of the presentation, which takes its power from the fact that the participants and their actions speak for themselves. Words like "terroristic" are casually tossed about, and in spite of the fact that people on both sides of the issue seem a little skewed and in their own lopsided world, it leaves the audience with something to discuss. There is enough looniness that you may cringe with compassion for someone putting his foot into his mouth. And there is also some pretty smooth, focused and careful evasion displayed. You get a view of two kinds of extremist, the media savvy and the kook. The middle of the road is not very well represented, but that would be less compelling. I do not agree with the conceit that so-called rhetoric leads to violence. I think that everyone benefits from open discourse, and this film proves that giving someone a forum for free speech can be the best way to expose that person's nature and perhaps cast potential violence in a thoughtful light.


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