“Better This World”

“Better This World”

This stunning documentary pulls us deep into the broken US justice system fuelled by post-9/11 paranoia. We learn of two young men, ambulance best friends, David McKay and Brad Crowder. Like many young Americans they were disillusioned with the Bush government and it’s crimes against justice, both at home and abroad. Back in the mid-2000’s these two guys were struggling to find a voice, looking for real ways to make a change in the world. They saw their own government engaged in multiple, unjust wars and disregarding the poor of America. They wanted justice and freedom for all.

They meet this older and more experienced activist, Brandon Darby. He’s bold, well-spoken, charismatic and takes the boys under his wing. These three, along with several other young activists, embark on a plan to protest the 2008 Republican National Convention (RNC) in Minneapolis. Fueled by their earnest convictions and the militant, pro-violent dogma of Brandon, the two friends find themselves in over their heads while at the convention. The Feds show up in the middle of the night and bust Brad and David for the crime of creating molotov cocktails with the intent to murder police officers at the RNC.

Turns out their friend and mentor, Brandon, is a FBI informant. He had been “spying” on them for a year and led them to the Feds. Of course, as the boys are facing serious time in prison (like, 30 yrs!) they are stunned by how it all unfolded. Their defense? Entrapment. They were clearly encouraged and led by the snitch to do what they did. The film takes us through the nail-biting and complex maze of plea-bargaining and Federal Court trials. Jurors, lawyers and experts in the field are interviewed. The stakes are high and the outcome is incredible.

This doc is intense, timely, emotional and enraging. At once it challenges the system, exposing the flaws created by terror paranoia and reminds us of the importance of family and loved ones. It is well-shot, well researched and flows with a pace that keeps you on the edge of your seat. While all documentaries have a bent, this film is still very honest. The primary characters are the two young men and their families. So of course, we are experiencing their journey. But this is balanced with tonnes of interviews with the informant, the prosecutors and the FBI agents on the case.

If you lean to the left this film will infuriate you deeply. If you’re a right-winger then you’d better pay attention and let this film open your eyes to the injustice that is being exacted by a confused, right-winged system.

I spoke with the director after the screening and she told me the film will be aired in the US on cable in September 2011. After that it will be released on DVD and online. Be on the lookout for this one. In the meantime, check out the film’s website http://betterthisworld.com

“Better This World” is undeniably the most important documentary of the year. It’s in the early stages of screenings and landing distribution. So I sincerely hope this film gets as much exposure as possible. It’s one of those movies that actually has the ability to impact the masses and better this world.

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Craig the Critic

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