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Relevatory film that unfortunately embraces the politically correct narrative
This is a film that is shocking to see because it lays bare the underside of American society that few are willing to countenance. Broomfield speaks with an array of black residents of South L.A., and uncovers a mind-bending culture of violence, anti-social behavior and sexual deviance. If nothing else, this film shows what happens when society and culture descend into a kind of nihilistic madness. Some characters, admirably, maintain a sense of good humor amidst the wasteland.
However, Broomfield resorts to the usual politically correct bromides, allowing members of an activist group an open mic to condemn the police for the killer's actions, with no discussion of how culture and the attitudes of members of the community have contributed to the outrageous crimes that Franklin got away with for so long. This is, at best, a highly simplistic analysis of the situation. One woman discusses, almost proudly, how members of the community refuse to cooperate with the police, and will virtually never report a crime. Franklin's son discusses how his family members largely disowned him for turning in his murderous father. Franklin's friends discuss participating in appalling acts of rape and sexual humiliation against prostitutes. Everyone has a very casual attitude towards morals, behavior, justice, and sometimes human life in general. Broomfield should have explored this in more detail, but instead fails to draw the obvious connection that the police, racism, and "society" cannot exclusively be blamed for these disastrous cultural failings, and thus comes close to embracing the kind of moral relativism and excuse-making that has perhaps been as harmful to the underclass as racism and bad policing may have been in the past.
This is still a film worth seeing, but if only Broomfield could have taken off his ideological blinders and noticed what was happening right in front of him, he could have offered a more sociologically relevant and honest film.
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