On “Behind the Mask”
My thoughts as a viewer and accidental documentary filmmaker are:
- There is so much misinformation about the animal liberation movement, and it’s great to hear about what it is/was, who started it and why, and what these people’s stories are! Like when you read Terrorists or Freedom Fighters! or Igniting a Revolution, there’s much value in hearing the words of the people whom you agree or disagree with, as opposed to getting information second hand or making assumptions based on little information.
- Therefore, as far as the content goes, I found it helpful and inspirational (as in, the words of some of the people interviewed inspire me) as well as cautionary (as in, apparently all you have to do is go to a demonstration or represent an activist in court or run a website in order to unwittingly submit an order for your very own surveillance team from the FBI).
- From a production standpoint, the intention was to produce "the first ‘FUN’ animal rights movie" with "a different kind of action hero." This is where the filmmakers kind of lost me. The Mission Impossible-esque music and editing and effects of some sections made me realize that 41+ suburban writers aren’t the target market for the film. I wouldn’t call my experience of the film "fun," and I might even go so far as to say that the silliness of parts of it, which could have been done in a more dark, ironic way that might have been considered "fun" took away from the message.
- It was the words of Rod Coronado and Kevin Jonas, and the story of Jill Phipps, told by her mother, that I found most moving.
Finally, I think about individuals who were saved and whose lives were worth saving, as well as the individuals who might have replaced them (and in many cases there were none, as companies were put out of business) and how their lives are just as worthwhile. And like before I watched the film, I am still conflicted, but I am also enriched by the experience of being a witness to the struggles of others.