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Documentary Pack #4

Bleeding Edge

Depicting the underbelly of the medical profession, where a complicated web of administrative loopholes facilitate activity by medical device companies to accrue revenue at the expense of human health. A look into the lives ruined based on an imperfect science, the film is a harrowing and concerning warning to those who place an undue reliance on human innovation.

Bleeding Edge is no doubt based on upsetting anecdotal testimony and it remains unclear how rampant or common the concerns are or how egregious the FDA’s process is in releasing dangerous products (e.g. Ensure, Da Vinci robotics) into the market. What is immensely valuable is the information that should readily be available to the public to make informed decisions based on the totality of the evidence, which is why I remain fascinated, but skeptical that the Bleeding Edge is of any more use than documentaries about the dangers of vaccination.

Bleeding Edge


Crime + Punishment

Crime + Punishment gives viewers a small glimpse into the law enforcement practice of using black bodies to generate revenue by implementing illegal quota systems based on false arrests. The sheer weight of documentaries (e.g. 13Survivors Guide To Prison) and films (e.g. Fruitvale Station, Roman J. Israel) about the broken criminal justice system is moving and this one is no different. Told from the standpoint of twelve N.Y.P.D. whistleblowers and Manuel Gomez (“private investigator [who] tries to exonerate Pedro Hernandez, a young man charged with a shooting and held on Rikers Island”), the film chronicles the efforts of brave men to right the ship of corruption in New York City, faced with an uphill battle for justice, they put their livelihoods on the line for the public interest.

Aside from its importance, the filming (like Bleeding Edge) is sub-par — a data dumb with personal interviews with none of the artist competence of films like Strong Island. A documentary that makes no effort to dissect the particulars of the case or explain thoroughly the final dismissal of claims based on procedural thresholds. Non-lawyers will not understand throughly the full gravity of using retaliatory methods to silence dissent and the sheer consequences on the minority community from N.Y.P.D. harassment. Placing Eric Garner into the mix was essential, but it was not enough.  Filmmaker Stephen Maing did not do enough with the richness of his content to paint a compelling portrait of reality. He found great footage, but lacked the creative competence to make something truly remarkable.





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