Not much of interest aside from 'look how odd other cultures are' gawping
It is a frequent image in the UK media, that Americans are gun- loving survivalists who constantly believe that someone (the Government, home-invaders, terrorists) is going to come in their door at night and the only way to stop them will be to shoot them. How many people think like this I cannot say, but to watch this film you would think that it is all of them. From the start the presentation in this film is one of ominous tragedy – in some cases it is warranted but in the majority of the stories it is not. Although the film suggests that it is about children and gun culture, really it is not because it is clear throughout that it is about parents wanting their children to feel the same way as them about their interests.
The film appears to totally miss this and instead it just keeps putting hand-wringing images onto the screen and pushing the questions over whether or not it is right to put guns in the hands of children. Having just recently watched the three most recent films from Louis Theroux, I am not blind to the limits of his approach, but this would have been a better film if he had been in it, engaging with the people, asking the probing but 'faux innocent' questions to get people to talk about what they are doing. The reason for this is that there is a difference between teaching gun- safety and wanting your child to shoot guns, but nobody ever seems to ask this obvious line of questioning in the film. Instead we get a lot of deliberately extreme examples of tiny children being taken hunting whether they wanted to be or not.
There was a near total lack of discussion of the issues and the nuances; for sure there were aspects of the situations that I found troubling, but there were almost as many where it did not feel wrong – different from the culture I grew up in for sure, but 'different' rather than 'wrong'. The film doesn't have the inclination to consider such things, so instead we just get heavy-handed judgment where the people are used to prop up the predetermined agenda rather than being treated as people. It is professionally made in a technical sense but outside of the gawker aspect of watching other cultures do things that seem totally mad to our culture, there is not much else to be had here.
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