‘ 3 1⁄2 Min­utes, Ten Bul­lets’

Los Angeles Times - - CALENDAR - By Robert Abele cal­en­dar@ latimes. com

Grip­ping doc­u­men­tary on Stand Your Ground law’s deadly re­sults.

A doc­u­men­tary that shouldn’t have to be made, about a law that needn’t ex­ist, ex­plored via a crime that could have been avoided: “31⁄2 Min­utes, Ten Bul­lets” is a thought- pro­vok­ing, mourn­ful ex­pe­ri­ence, per­haps more so in the wake of the killings in Charleston, S. C.

The film’s fo­cus is the trial of Michael Dunn, a mid­dle- aged white man who on Nov. 23, 2012, in Jack­sonville, Fla., shot and killed black teenager Jor­dan Davis at a gas sta­tion dur­ing an ar­gu­ment over the deci­bel level of the rap mu­sic com­ing from the SUV that Jor­dan, 17, and his bud­dies were in.

Di­rec­tor Marc Sil­ver won ap­proval to f ilm the trial, and the sober­ing nar­ra­tive his fixed cam­eras cap­ture — of a tragedy parsed for some mea­sure of in­sti­tu­tion­al­ized jus­tice — ex­tends to the more per­sonal con­nect­ing tis­sue of in­ter­views with Jor- dan’s fam­ily and friends. Sil­ver art­fully lay­ers that, coolly and calmly, so the weight of the is­sues — namely how racial pro­fil­ing and a self- de­fense law like Stand Your Ground malev­o­lently feed each other — sinks in. The heartache and out­rage are there al­ready. The movie wisely doesn’t force it. ( And if you don’t know the out­come, the sus­pense may prove to be un­bear­able.)

Sil­ver in­cludes au­dio of talk ra­dio call­ers de­nounc­ing Stand Your Ground, and they make moun­tains of sense. We also get to hear county jail record­ings of Dunn whin­ing on the phone to his girl­friend about his vic­tim com­plex, which speaks vol­umes about sim­mer­ing big­otry.

But it’s the sad­ness of Jor­dan’s mother, Lu­cia, that hits hard­est. She cries at home, in church, in a car on the way to court, in the re­stroom dur­ing the trial and in front of news cam­eras as she speaks out for her son and his need­less death. For many, the wheels of jus­tice never turn fast enough, no mat­ter how well oiled with tears they are.

RON DAVIS, fa­ther of slain teen Jor­dan Davis, in the doc­u­men­tary “31⁄2 Min­utes, Ten Bul­lets.”

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