HotDocs ’16 – Day 6: Under the Gun

Day 6 - Under_the_Gun_1Under the Gun (USA, 2016): The Katie Couric-Stephanie Soechtig team seems hell-bent on exposing America’s malaises. In Fed Up (2014), they exposed the role of the food industry in the US obesity epidemic. Now they are going after a bigger fish (if possible): The gun lobby.

Using the many mass shootings down the border –particularly Sandy Hook and Aurora- as starting point, the documentary dissects the relationship between congressmen and the gun lobby, the NRA and weapons manufacturers, trade shows and crime, and gun owners and the organization that allegedly represents their interests.

There is nothing intrinsically new about American society’s trouble with guns, but the documentary presents the problem with remarkable clarity. Manufacturers develop close ties with the National Rifle Association; the NRA promotes a paranoid agenda (“the government is coming for your guns!” even though is legally unable to do such thing); people run to buy more weapons. The fact most gun owners would support background check legislation changes nothing. Or so it seems.

Not surprisingly, no NRA representatives, congressmen or gun-makers would speak on camera (to do so would be acknowledging there is a problem), but it doesn’t matter. Rationally, Under the Gun makes an ironclad case for the need of legislation. Too bad most people react emotionally to the matter. 4 ½ / 5 stars.

Under the Gun will also play Thursday, May 5th and Sunday, May 8th.

Author: Jorge Ignacio Castillo

Journalist, film critic, documentary filmmaker, and sometimes nice guy. Member of the Vancouver Film Critics Circle. Like horror flicks, long walks on the beach and candlelight dinners. Allergic to cats.