Released on DVD and Blu-ray by, The Killing of America is a film from the early 1980s that is being re-issued and is a prescient and telling documentary of it's own era and sends a shocking message about the problem America has with it's history of gun violence from presidential assassinations to race crimes with black on white crimes and vice versa.
The film uses a wealth of archive and newsreel footage to tell the history of the gun in America beginning with the shooting of John F. Kennedy on November 22nd 1963 in Dallas, Texas. The film then goes to voyages past every major assassination both successful and unsuccessful from Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy to George Wallace and Ronald Reagan.
The film utilises an authoritative voiceover by Chuck Riley full of foreboding that does not attempt to provide answers nor sway the audience to follow a politicised agenda. The document simply wants to provide you with the (albeit shocking) evidence and you make up your own mind.
Huge credit should go to directors Sheldon Renan and Leonard Scharder, who had the vision in 1981 to foresee the dark road that their homeland was travelling down. We all remember Michael Moore's acclaimed Bowling for Columbine, and yet whilst that film made reference to gun violence and its influences, it nevertheless had an explicit political message at the heart of the film.
Yet in Killing of America you have killers kill random strangers because they feel bad for having killed a loved one, a killer say he wanted to be known and famous, Shiran Shiran killed Bobby Kennedy to free Palestine. The use of the Riley narration means you listen to his facts - such as gun purchases quadrupling following the JFK killing.
The combination of superbly edited sequences especially the memorable showdown involving John R. Hopkins who held a newsroom hostage combined with the startling facts make for a gripping and at times hard to watch experience, which nevertheless is a very important one that should be seen by all.
The Killing of America is on Blu-ray/DVD from Monday 31st October
Special features include:
Audio commentary with Sheldon Renan, Interview, 'The Madness is Real' with Sheldon Renan, 'Cutting the Killing', an interview with editor Lee Perry