On Hostile Ground

"Good"

On Hostile Ground Review


Abortion is a hot political topic no matter which side of the fence someone is on. Those that lobby for and against a patient's right to choose concentrate on the pregnant women who walk into clinics. But what about those who perform the actual procedures? How are their lives affected?

On Hostile Ground takes a closer look at the lives of three doctors who provide abortions in Montana, Alabama, and upstate New York. They vary in background but have one thing in common: They are picketed and persecuted by their community for the services they perform. After seven abortionist killings (and many more injured), shockwaves have shuddered through this decreasing sect of the medical community.

This documentary puts a human face on an issue rife with extremes, and from an angle seldom considered. The focus shifts from doctor to archival news footage to what members of the community have to say. Unfortunately, this exact cycle repeats monotonously throughout the 73 minutes. News footage of violence becomes repetitive, especially when it is related to the same case. Every now and then these dragging stretches of scenes are punctuated by statistics on a black screen or shots of protesters in front of clinics.

Admirably, while the documentary is staunchly pro-choice, this is captured through the movie's subjects instead of heavy-handed photography. Because the doctors talk directly to the camera and not to a narrator, connection is a little easier with the audience, no matter the stance. The statistics that are utilized aren't trying to prove or disprove the right to choose. The number of women who have abortions in any given year isn't important to the argument. The numbers concentrate solely on the number of professionals in the field of abortionism and those that have suffered due to their profession.

Unfortunately, though the doctors profiled have compelling personalities and views, to hear them say that a woman should have the right to choose several times during any given 10 minute span tries anyone's attention, whether you agree or not. There is also a great deal of extraneous footage that isn't quite captivating enough to sustain focus. This may be due to the filmmakers having more interesting discussions than visuals to work with.

Surprisingly, there is only a brief mention the shooting of Dr. Gunn in Florida, though the entire basis of the film is how these doctors are in danger. Dr. Gunn was one of the first abortionist victims to make national news. His death occurred well before the shooting of Dr. Slepian, of whom so much is heard during the course of On Hostile Ground.

On the other hand, On Hostile Ground provides a complete, and fairly objective, portrait of the communities these doctors serve. The Christians that picket the offices but don't get violent are not judged for their convictions, either by the filmmakers or the doctors' staffs. Patients' opinions are juxtaposed against other local residents, staff who work with clients, and families of the professionals. A viewer can get the feel of what it's like to live in that town, without political ideas thrown in your face.

The documentary seeks, and succeeds, in putting a human face on the medical practitioners providing health services to those who choose to have an abortion. It edges on preaching -- wondering if the extremists that shoot such people are any better than those they harm -- but considering the severity of violence, this is easily excused. It could have been shorter, but the lives of these doctors are intriguing enough to warrant a document of their stories.

Or not.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 90 mins

In Theaters: Sunday 11th June 2000

Production compaines: Aubin Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

IMDB: 3.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Liz Mermin, Jenny Raskin

Producer:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

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

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

War Dogs Movie Review

War Dogs Movie Review

Based on a rather astounding true story, this comedy-drama centres on two stoners who landed...

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

Advertisement
The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

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.