3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets
Marc Silver has been billed as director, photographer and “Social Impact Strategist”. The latter may be cause for a double-take but an explanation may be found upon close analysis of his work. Silver received critical recognition for his previous documentary Who Is Dayani Cristal? that shone an acerbic spotlight on the culture of dehumanisation surrounding US border control. 3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets proves engaging, thoughtful and, most importantly, relevant.
Stylistically shot in the format of a documentary, the film concerns the legal proceedings surrounding the shooting of 17-year-old Jordan Davis by Michael Dunn, a 45-year-old Caucasian, in November 2012. A confrontation at a gas station regarding the volume of the music Davis was playing in his car resulted in Dunn drawing a handgun and emptying the clip into the side of the vehicle that housed Davis and his friends. Davis, of African American descent, was fatally injured.
3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets flirts with the frenzied American media on occasion but it merely serves as an indication of the furore surrounding the case. Predominantly, the film focuses on Davis’ grieving parents who seek justice for their son and the incredulous Dunn who appears nonplussed as to why he’s even there for the majority of the film.
Silver has a natural eye for the dramatic, superimposing every shaky-handed oath and quivering testimonial over the stern iconography of an American courtroom. The film’s soundtrack is exceptional, ranging from ominous vibrating tones to a hot trumpet playing over scenes of a Jackson cityscape.
Silver could be accused of letting his desire to influence social perceptions obscure the archival nature of documentary: the editing and camera-work subtly make clear who Silver favours in the proceedings far before the judge reaches a verdict. However, 3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets unflinchingly tackles the subjects of gun culture, racial prejudice and the controversy of the right to use lethal force in response to an assumed threat. Even if the film was not as expertly crafted as it is, these facts alone ensure Silver’s latest receives a worthy recommendation.
3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets is released nationwide on 2nd October 2015.
Watch the trailer for 3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets here: