Flag Wars

"Good"

Flag Wars Review


"Urban gentrification" is often bandied about like it's nothing but a bad thing. But while low-income residents of the less upscale parts of town tend to get evicted and run out, the community as a whole does indeed improve. Crack houses are torn down. Graffiti is painted over. Neighborhoods are cleaned up. Gangs move to less troublesome territories. But some long-time residents don't exactly get the royal treatment along the way.

Flag Wars (an awful title, I'm afraid) is a sober documentary about gentrification in one Columbus, Ohio neighborhood, Olde Towne East. Specifically, a run-down, project-infested part of town populated largely by blacks (many in poor health) find their neighborhood being adopted by affluent, white gays, who start renovating the gothic old mansions and putting up rainbow flags. Needless to say, these two groups are a bit at odds with each other.

At ground zero of this argument is the Columbus zoning and building commission. The trouble apparently starts when one gay realtor complains to the commission about the many decrepit homes in the hood: She wants them to be improved or sold; either way is a win for her business and her property values. One black man, a Yoruba priest, hangs a sign on the front of his house and sells art inside. The city wants the sign removed. He refuses.

Other cases are far more contentious, namely the sad affair of Linda Mitchell, an alcoholic on disability whose home is crumbling around her. She has no money to fix it, but the city demands she do so, constantly hauling her before a judge and extracting promise after promise that she'll do what they say. She never does. The cycle continues.

And this is Flag Wars' biggest problem: It goes round and round and never settles anything. Though it was filmed over four years, the end offers no resolution at all. It simply stops, as if the filmmakers ran out of tape. In attempting to cast the story as one of class warfare, you can't help but feel the narrative is a little forced. Aside from one meeting where muggings and burglaries are discussed, you really don't get the feeling that these two groups can't coexist. In direct interviews, the blacks seem to care little about the gay whites and vice versa. They both just want to be left alone... maybe by the filmmakers more than anyone else.



Flag Wars

Facts and Figures

Run time: 86 mins

In Theaters: Monday 10th March 2003

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 67%
Fresh: 4 Rotten: 2

IMDB: 6.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Linda Goode Bryant, Laura Poitras

Producer: Linda Goode Bryant, Laura Poitras

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Get Back Movie Review

Get Back Movie Review

Roger Appleton's documentary 'Get Back' looks into the music scene that come out of Liverpool....

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Advertisement
Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.