Coming to theatres today, Friday, August 19: MAKING A KILLING: GUNS, GREED, AND THE NRA
Robert Greenwald’s polemic against the pro-gun lobby debuts this weekend around the country.
Like his previous films about Halliburton, the Koch brothers, and Wal-Mart, Greenwald’s latest exhaustively trumpets that the core motivation of the National Rifle Association is not some principled desire to protect a constitutional right but instead a far simpler one: profit, at any cost. With its pointed subtitle, this won’t come as a surprise to anyone, and will just serve to confirm the viewpoint of its likely audience of like-minded gun control advocates – it’s hard to imagine that the NRA membership would bother to watch. In practice, the film falls short of its intended goal – beyond noting the annual salaries of key NRA officials and the profits of notable gun companies or gun sellers, it doesn’t dig deeper than listing NRA campaign contribution amounts to legislators who have blocked sensible gun laws and, in a big misstep, flashing pictures of mansions, yachts, and private jets as some kind of indictment against profit – as if these trappings of success are somehow unique to this industry. Instead of investigating the money trail further, Greenwald instead spends the bulk of his film on several stories related to gun violence, including a woman shot by her estranged husband, a teenager accidentally killed with a family’s unlocked gun, a suicide enabled by an impulsive gun purchase, a broader consideration of illegal guns in Chicago, and the Aurora CO movie theatre mass shooting. While overlong, particularly the Chicago segment, these episodes illustrate textbook examples of the problems with America’s lax gun laws, from the lack of background checks and waiting periods to the gun show loophole. Hammering the point home, Greenwald overlays statistic over statistic over statistic, so much so that they sadly become numbing after awhile. Ultimately, the film has the best of intentions, but is hampered by its execution.