Thursday, March 13, 2008
Disclaimer: I talk about specific scenes in this movie which are very graphic.
Lake Of Fire is Tony Kaye's latest attempted bipartisan abortion documentary. Kaye isn't the most prolific director but he's probably most famous for directing American History X. Going on that information alone, I knew I needed to see this movie, and I tried to read about it as little as possible. I wanted to go into it without knowing any more than what I already did. I kind of wish I had a done just a tad more research, though, so I could be prepared for the graphic scenes.
It only seems natural that the director who filmed the infamous curbing scene in American History X would have have graphic moments in a documentary about abortion. You see 2 different women on separate occasions getting abortions, the aborted fetuses/fetus pieces being rinsed in a pan, an image of a woman who died by trying to give herself an abortion with a coat hanger, and pictures from the crimes scenes of murdered doctors. The majority of this movie, however, is not visually disturbing. It's central driving force is interviewing people, such as professors and radio hosts, about abortion and their views on it.
Being a pro-choice believer, it was hard to watch this movie objectively. I feel like whenever a person who was pro-life in the movie was shown, they almost always seemed completely ignorant and/or spouting religious nonsense about doctors and women burning for eternity in a lake of fire. I read a review of this movie that said his major criticism was that the pro-choice people in the movie were well educated and well respected whereas the pro-lifers were for the most part ultra-conservative extremists. And I agree for the most part. I think that although the film tried not to have an obvious spin, it was clear which side Kaye stood by looking at the type of people he chose to portray each side of the debate.
This was an interesting movie even though I am firm in my belief on abortion. I definitely wasn't swayed to the other side but it did present some new ideas to me. There was an analogy made that put abortion in a new perspective. Someone said that killing is on a sliding scale. In reference to animals, killing a bunny is in awful crime but hardly anyone gives a second thought to smashing the mosquito on their arm. The point is that there is no absolute. Some people would kill the mosquito and not the bunny, just as some people would abort a fetus and not shoot someone in the middle of the street.
The movie was a little too long (2.5 hours) and without having a real stand on the issue made it go by pretty slow at times. It wasn't as enlightening as I would have hoped but it was a fantastic movie that I'm glad I saw. It left the issue as open as it was when the movie started, answering no questions, with the possible exception of just leaving it at "It's always circumstantial."