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'Welcome to Leith' is a feature documentary chronicling the attempted takeover of a small town in North Dakota by notorious white supremacist Craig Cobb. Filmed in the days leading up to Cobb's arrest for terrorizing the townspeople on an armed patrol and his subsequent release from jail six months later, the film is an eerie document of American DIY ideals.
The filmmakers did a good job...but the story was undone by some of the townspeople...
The people that made "Welcome to Leith" did a nice job of presenting a reasonably well balanced and interesting story. While they obviously didn't like the white supremacists featured in the film, they also were sure to present the complete story...warts and all.
The town of Leith is extremely tiny and located in the Dakotas. When a crazed white supremacist arrives there and starts buying up property, folks start getting concerned. When he then starts inviting in other like-minded jerks, the town starts to react...strongly. What follows is a film that consists of showing the tiny town's efforts to get rid of the supremacists and prevent them from taking over Leith. Unfortunately, when the neo-Nazis actually do something that might be illegal, some of the townsfolks manage to undo the state's case by talking out of turn...and some of these people later blame the state for the case falling apart. However, the way I saw the film I don't believe the authorities LEGALLY had much more they could do about the supremacists...and the film leaves everything in limbo. This could REALLY benefit from a follow-up to know what subsequently occurred.
As I mentioned, the people who made the film were great--they were very thorough and did a wonderful job in presenting both sides. It's not 100% satisfying to watch, however, for two reasons. First, in real life things often DON'T work out perfectly...as the film illustrates. And, Second, despite 99.9% of the viewers wanting to see these neo-Nazis die or go to prison forever, legally this wasn't possible due to Constitutionally guaranteed rights...even the right to be an evil, nasty, hateful individual! To me this isn't a bad thing...everyone deserves protection--whether or not they are nice people...though I am sure many will be angered by this. Despite its shortcomings, it does make for an interesting documentary as well as a great civics lesson.
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