Hot Docs 2016 Review: ‘Under the Gun’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Movies by - April 30, 2016
Hot Docs 2016 Review: ‘Under the Gun’

Under the Gun

Special Presentations

Both compassionate and fierce, Under the Gun¸ Stephanie Soechtig’s comprehensive dissection of a gun-obsessed America culture where mass shootings have become the norm and even the slaughter of school children couldn’t stir politicians to act, is a smart, heartbreaking entreaty to actually do something.

Welcoming gun lovers, and literally sitting down with a group of  people who were armed during a discussion about guns rights, Under the Gun looks at the personal tragedies of several notable mass shooting, while analyzing the myriad factors that go into clogging up a political system.

Schoolchildren in Connecticut, moviegoers in Colorado, a politician in Arizona are among the main focuses of this collaborative doc between Soechtig and Katie Couric, who previously worked together on Fed Up, which sought to reveal the harmful practices of the food industry.

Here the topic is much more tragic, and even more enraging. Soechtig does not look to damn all those who support guns, instead illuminating how the NRA, which hardly speaks for most gun owners, has become a powerful political body, toiling away to defund and negate gun registries, exploiting legal loopholes, and creating a culture of fear.

Soechtig tries to stay positive, traveling to Chicago to visit a church that educates, protects, and fights back for the youth of the Chicago that are highly vulnerable. Elsewhere, grassroots groups work on ballot initiatives for gun control, as a way of doing that which politicians are too scared to do.

Under the Gun does well to control frustration, channeling that prevailing feeling (along with anger, outrage, befuddlement, et cetera) into something inspiring and somewhat hopeful. It seems impossible to leave the film and not be completely awestruck. An opening note explains that by the end of the film, a handful of people will die from gun violence in the U.S.

Under the Gun screens three times at Hot Docs.
Tue, May 3 3:15 PM TIFF Bell Lightbox 1

Thu, May 5 9:30 PM Bloor Hot Docs Cinema

Sun, May 8 9:30 PM The Regent
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Anthony is a lover of a good story in any form, on any subject. Tirelessly navigating filmdom, he is equal parts an unbridled idealist and stubborn curmudgeon, trying to strike a balance between head and heart when it comes to pop culture. He pens stories about television, music, the environment, lifestyles, and all things noteworthy and peculiar.