Coming to theatres tomorrow, Friday, September 30: DO NOT RESIST
Craig Atkinson’s exploration of the militarization of law enforcement debuted at Tribeca, where it won Best Documentary. Its fest circuit has also included Hot Docs, Traverse City, AFI Docs, DOXA, Human Rights Watch, Telluride Mountainfilm, Bergen, Zurich, Dokufest, and Camden.
Taking a measured, restrained approach that only makes its content more chilling, Atkinson’s debut uses the protests to police brutality in Ferguson to launch into a nationwide look of the rapid expansion of state-sanctioned violence in the name of policing. Most disturbing is the federal government’s not-so-subtle encouragement of applying militaristic aggression on crime within even the smallest of communities. As a consequence of the war on terror, surpluses of military heavy equipment and other gear are routinely bequeathed by Homeland Security when there is both no obvious need nor community support, encouraging a mindset that even low-level offenders should be treated like enemy combatants, subject to lethal force. While the film’s survey approach lacks a central protagonist to help focus the project, it nevertheless conveys its urgent, cautionary message with strength.