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Critics reviews
3½ Minutes, 10 Bullets
Marc Silver United States, 2015
Silver does well to paint a picture of Davis’ community, though less so of Davis himself. On one hand, it’s important to challenge Dunn’s assumption that Davis was “a gangster rapper”. Yet, there is a sense that Davis’ middle-class status is being played upon, leaving us wondering – and worrying – if a less relatable ‘character’ would lend themselves to such smooth storytelling.
October 05, 2015
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The film is at its most fascinating when it gives a window on the workings of the US legal system, allowing the viewer to see how invoking the controversial stand-your-ground law makes it possible to get away with murder. 3 ½ Minutes is both gripping and scrupulous, showing Silver to be capable of composure while unequivocally defying the bigotry given necessary voice in his film.
September 07, 2015
[It’s] a poorly constructed exploration of extremely important events. While it is surely an important and prescient issue, the project’s failures as a film cannot be overlooked; what should be a punchy takedown of stand your ground laws in Florida and ongoing issues of racism across America is instead a scattered, inconsistent, and timid recount of judicial process, constantly hinting at far more interesting and important concepts without ever managing to push its agenda effectively.
August 15, 2015
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Thanks to Emiliano Battista and Gideon Gold’s fluid [editing], the prosecution and defense unfold with the suspense of a Hollywood courtroom drama. Director Marc Silver clearly favors the perspective of Dunn’s victims and their families, yet he also engages seriously with the defendant’s account of the fateful events. Dunn comes to seem like an ordinary person, which makes his crime—not to mention his casual sense of white entitlement—seem that much more horrific.
August 05, 2015
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The emotions here are so raw and relatable that certain aspects of Silver’s presentation—particularly the insistent musical score—seem over-cranked, and yet the film on the whole feels restrained considering the scope of the rage and sadness in play.
June 25, 2015
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3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets doesn’t move or look like most documentaries you’ve seen. The movie’s meditative quality makes you feel for everyone involved in this tragedy—even Dunn, who seems very much a prisoner of fear and anger. Where a lot of documentaries would try to stir outrage, this one just leaves you shaking your head.
June 19, 2015
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At the time of a fervent national debate on race and justice, part of what is impressive about “3 ½ Minutes” is the cool temperature at which it is often served… While the impulse to shed light on the family’s grief and to portray Mr. Davis as more than a headline is understandable, the sentimental reminiscences detract from what at times is a powerfully minimalist presentation.
June 18, 2015
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Alongside glossy cinematography and an elegant (but nonetheless over-insistent) musical score, Silver’s film is dense with details, routinely pointing back to the present moment of paranoid sousveillance. The filmmaker deploys aspects of the evidence-discovery process in a way that can only be called “cinematic,” juxtaposing security-cam footage from the gas station where Dunn shot Davis with the teenager’s friends’ courtroom testimonies.
June 18, 2015
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Clearly appalled by the “stand your ground” concept, 3½ Minutes employs an unusually artful style of advocacy, suggesting that privileging a defendant’s unknowable state of mind over almost everything else just might be a problem in a country where young black males are routinely perceived as dangerous.
June 17, 2015
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Though Silver’s non-trial instincts are mostly conventional, his wealth of access — to Dunn’s repugnant phone calls from prison, to Davis’s mourning parents, to the friends who were in the car with Davis during the shooting — is substantial and rewarding. And Silver’s empathy often produces moments of emotional catharsis, as in a jovial conversation in which Davis’s friends and his father weigh Davis’s athletic aptitude in baseball, basketball, and football.
June 16, 2015
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3½ Minutes [is] the tragically sad narrative of another stand-your-ground murder, that of African American teenager Jordan Davis, underlining again the urgency of the #blacklivesmatter protest.
March 06, 2015
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I admired the craftsmanship, and my blood boiled whenever director Marc Silver furnished yet another deluded outtake of Dunn’s jailhouse phone calls to his grieving fiancée. Silver makes an unwieldy legal case easily digestible. The movie works on its own terms. Yet, at Sundance it’s another reminder of the limited occasions one can see black people at the center of a film.
January 26, 2015
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