Unborn in the USA: Inside the War on Abortion

"Good"

Unborn in the USA: Inside the War on Abortion Review


Considering that the topic of abortion has, more than probably any other single political issue, framed debate in America for the past thirty-plus years, it as a subject has been mostly steered well clear of by the kind of writers and filmmakers who focus on big subjects of that kind. This is particularly surprising when taking into account recent court decisions on the matter, and the usage of the issue as a bedrock vote-getter and fundraiser by the Republican party; not to mention the fact that abortion is still such a violently disputed topic that many Americans avoid bringing it up in discussion entirely. And so it looms like a cloud on the political horizon, unremarked-upon by those afraid to even point it out. Stephen Fell and Will Thompson's Unborn in the USA: Inside the War on Abortion is thusly a welcome piece of work -- it certainly has its weak points, but even a mediocre documentary is far better than nothing.

The raw material is certainly there, if often unshaped. Fell and Thompson started the film while at Rice University and the film that resulted from that beginning indeed has the feel of a school project, albeit an uncommonly ambitious one. The focus here is fortunately not encompassing the entire debate but rather on the more dedicated elements of the pro-life movement. The filmmakers pile together their subjects together in clumps, starting with the Christian students taking pro-life propaganda classes sponsored by Focus on the Family -- whose 49-acre Colorado campus is like a theocratic Christian youth boot camp. Well-groomed and bright youths watch videos while an energetic lecturer from the Justice For All organization points out techniques for converting staunchly pro-choice students. Then we watch as those same kids drop into college campuses, set up a massive and stomach-churning display comparing historical genocides with abortion, and wait for the fireworks to start.

It's a telling start, as Unborn in the USA is more about the process of the pro-life movement than it is about its philosophical underpinnings. It's a first-person account for the most part, making the unconventional choice not to spread its interviewees across the political spectrum (throwing in talking-head interviews with experts and professors of differing ideologies for perspective, say). So the filmmakers offer up the movement's strategists and tacticians, a convicted clinic bomber here, and there the woman who took the infamous photographs of mangled, discarded fetuses still emblazoned on pro-life posters today. The interviewees, given an honest reckoning without hostile editing, are with a few exceptions well-spoken, organized, and highly dedicated, jazzed on the idea of fighting for a cause with tactics that skirt the edge of legality (some, like the delusional head of the fringe and borderline-terrorist group "Army of God," just leap right over that edge).

Although seeming at times less a cohesive documentary than a series of loosely-linked interview clumps, Unborn in the USA is inarguably topical in its treatment of these often ignored activists; the kind who don't approve of those clinic bombers but aren't really that upset by them. It's a snapshot of a well-funded political underground that doesn't appear to be going away anytime soon -- something that will be either heart-warming or bone-chilling, depending on where you stand.

High five.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 101 mins

In Theaters: Friday 15th June 2007

Distributed by: First Run Features

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Fresh: 12 Rotten: 3

IMDB: 6.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Stephen Fell, Will Thompson

Producer: Suzanne O'Malley

Starring: John Brockhoeft as Himself, Grant Cheney as Himself, Rachel Early as Herself, Steven Ertelt as Himself, Nellie Gray as Herself, Peggy Hartshorn as Herself, as Himself, Anthony Levatino as Himself, Monica Miller as Herself, Janet Morana as Herself, Jay Mount as Himself, Troy Newman as Himself, Jonathan O'Toole as Himself, Julie A. Parton as Herself, Frank Pavone as Himself, Joe Scheidler as Himself, Don Spitz as Himself, Matt Trewhella as Himself, Steve Wagner as Himself, Steve Wetzel as Himself, Tim Wiesner as Himself, Wendy Wright as Herself

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

The 2003 comedy Bad Santa is a holiday classic that skilfully mixes gross-out humour with...

Allied Movie Review

Allied Movie Review

There's a terrific script at the heart of this World War II thriller, with a...

A United Kingdom Movie Review

A United Kingdom Movie Review

Based on a powerful true story from the late 1940s, this drama is packed with...

Indignation Movie Review

Indignation Movie Review

Philip Roth's layered novels are a challenge for filmmakers (see also 2003's The Human Stain...

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

It's been five years since the last Harry Potter movie, and J.K. Rowling has been...

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Yet another bonkers thriller starring Nicolas Cage, this trashy crime comedy comes from director Paul...

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

"Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall" is a DVD...

Advertisement
Arrival Movie Review

Arrival Movie Review

This sci-fi drama has an enjoyably brain-bending plot that leaves the audience almost stunned with...

Elle Movie Review

Elle Movie Review

There's a boldly comical tone to this outrageous thriller that can't help but unnerve audiences...

100 Streets Movie Review

100 Streets Movie Review

A multi-strand drama set in London, this film is very nicely shot and acted, but...

Nocturnal Animals Movie Review

Nocturnal Animals Movie Review

It's been seven years since designer Tom Ford made a splash with his award-winning writing-directing...

The Light Between Oceans Movie Review

The Light Between Oceans Movie Review

With a sweeping, picturesque setting and emotive performances, this dramatic epic will appeal to moviegoers...

The Accountant Movie Review

The Accountant Movie Review

While this slick dramatic thriller plays with some intriguing ideas and themes, it never actually...

Train to Busan Movie Review

Train to Busan Movie Review

Leave it to the Koreans to reinvent the zombie horror movie and put a high-speed...

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.