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Cul de Sac: A Suburban War Story (2002)

7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 81 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 5 critic

In May 1995, Shawn Nelson, a 35 year-old plumber from Clairemont, California, emerged from an eighteen foot mine shaft he had dug beneath his backyard in search for gold. An ex-soldier and ... See full summary »

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Title: Cul de Sac: A Suburban War Story (2002)

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In May 1995, Shawn Nelson, a 35 year-old plumber from Clairemont, California, emerged from an eighteen foot mine shaft he had dug beneath his backyard in search for gold. An ex-soldier and methamphetamine abuser, he stole a tank from a nearby National Guard armory and went on a rampage through the residential streets of his neighborhood, crushing cars and lampposts until the cops took him down. CUL DE SAC goes far beyond this apparently minor news story and provides extensive political, economic and social context that ties Nelson's life to the larger story of a working class community in decline. Newsreels of a fat, happy San Diego in the 50s and 60s, the perfect representation of middle class aspirations for economic prosperity, are juxtaposed with contemporary images of shuttered defense plants, jobless blue-collar suburbanites, drug abusers, and police on patrol. Statements from police, historians and real estate agents sketch out the rise and fall of this military-fueled boomtown... Written by Anonymous

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23 April 2005 (USA)  »

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Not worth the effort!
18 May 2004 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

And an effort it is watching this. This disjointed, almost incoherent film has no clear narrative thread and seems to have been assembled pulling together whatever bits and pieces that could be found in the local TV network's video files to make an hour's worth of film. The interviewing is unfocused, the narrative jump's back-and-forth and all-over-the-place without any seeming plan or intent. This is documentary journalism at it's worst, taking a sensational story and exploiting it without really looking below the surface. It meanders and then fades out into nothingness with lots of questions raised and almost none answered. Contrast this with "Bus 174", a fascinating case of a bus hijacking in Brazil that truly demonstrates how to show the factors leading to an act of urban terrorism.


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