Dave's Rating:


… like watching cheerleaders form a human pyramid for the cause of peace.

Who's in It: Reverend Michael Doyle

The Basics: Documentary about a group of 28 anti-war Catholic activists who, in 1971, plotted to break into a U.S. draft-board office in Camden, N.J., and destroy government records. Meanwhile, J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI had infiltrated the group to urge them forward and help plan the civil disobedience. Naturally, they were all then arrested and put on trial, one that would turn around to become a sort of test case on the morality of the draft and the Vietnam War.

What's the Deal? As documentaries go, this is standard issue in terms of structure. Archive footage and talking heads pretty much rule the 83-minute running time. But it's so enthusiastically in favor of the Gandhi-like breaking of unjust laws that it's kind of like watching a group of cheerleaders form a human pyramid for the cause of peace. You have to like that about it. I mean, unless you're someone like Bill O'Reilly or Karl Rove.

What I Really Like About This: It reminds you that lefty Christians have always existed. The way the country works now, the only Christian activists who tend to make news are the right-wing ones out to destroy everything they think doesn't fall in line with their own world view. Meanwhile, the tradition of peace-and-justice left-wing Christian groups is a long one that doesn't get much media traction. So it's kind of cool to see the flip-side of the religious-activist coin.

Unnecessary Relevance: There's a reason so many documentaries about the Vietnam era are happening right now. For better or worse, they're a response to the Vietnam-like war we're involved in currently. Unfortunately, you can take a really fascinating story like this one and almost ruin it when you sprinkle it with that dust of "And if you think this is bad, well, it's JUST LIKE IRAQ IS RIGHT NOW IN CASE YOU WEREN'T AWARE!" Suddenly, you seem sort of scoldy and obvious. This movie tries a little of that, and it didn't need to.

Who Should See It: High school history classes, Sunday school groups, those guys who wear the black masks at anti-globalization rallies.


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