There’s a media company in California called Brave New Films which earlier this year released a remarkable documentary about America and guns. The film is called Making A Killing – Guns, Greed and the NRA, and from the title you can easily guess which side of the gun argument is being caught in this film. It’s a lengthy production for a documentary, runs more than 90 minutes, and much of the footage is devoted to comments by the families and friends of people whose lives were ended because they got in the way of a loaded gun.
The film is divided into four basic segments, each covering a category of gun death with which we are all too familiar: domestic abuse where an ex-husband assaults the ex-wife, the accidental shooting of a young kid, the endless shootings which take place virtually every day in Chicago, and a suicide committed by a seemingly stable young man who runs out one day, gets a gun and does himself in.
Interspersed between each segment are some quick cameos of the usual gun-nonsense comments by Wayne-o, as well as various devotees of the 2nd Amendment including Rubio and Cruz. I must say that juxtaposing a shooting victim lying in the street with Ted Cruz saying that expanded background checks won’t do “anything at all” makes the gap between gun violence reality and pro-gun political pandering a joy to behold. Not that the film is joyful in any sense of that word, but I really am pleased at how the filmmakers created an aesthetic production without sacrificing any truth or honesty at all.
Of course there are people who will say that there’s no necessary connection between the fact that Glock pistols are used in countless acts of gun violence and that Gaston Glock lives in a beautiful mansion or that Wayne-o evidently keeps his front lawn neat and trim. And while the production weaves back and forth between data on the number of people killed and wounded by guns each year versus the revenue and profits that accrue to companies like S&W and Colt, ultimately the question has to be asked whether there are certain types of profit-making ventures where the physical costs ultimately outweigh the financial gains. What the film does project in a particularly direct and emotional way is the efforts of the gun industry to separate itself from the physical toll connected to the products that it manufactures and sells.
This brings me to the last twenty minutes or so of the film and I am not sure if I can adequately convey the degree to which this final footage is simply beyond anything that exists when it comes to capturing the extreme violence associated with guns. Because this last segment relives in the most graphic terms, the mass shooting in the movie theater at Aurora, and what makes it so chillingly and terribly effective is that in parts it is narrated by the shooter himself!
That’s right. The filmmakers use some of the taped interviews with James Holmes to show how he methodically collected what he refers to as his ‘equipment,’ i.e., guns, ammo, smoke bombs and gear. Then his voice narrates how he drove to the theater and parked out back. Meanwhile, you are then taken inside the theater where moviegoers describe how they lined up for popcorn, went to their seats, settled back to watch the show. And then here comes Holmes again who says, in a clinically measured voice, that planning the shooting was how he coped with his depression because going into stores and onto the internet to buy ammo and guns allowed him to “shift from the suicidal to the homicidal.” And then we hear a smoke bomb go off, and a theater security camera captures panicked, terrified people fleeing from the scene.
I can’t say any more. See the film and judge for yourself. The moviemakers set an initial goal of 1,000 screenings and 1,00,000 pairs of eyes in front of those screens and they are almost there. Help them exceed that goal? Contact Brave New Films.