In the wake of the terrorism committed on the United States of America on 9/11, patriotism crossed into dark vigilanteism for some scared Americans – Mark Stroman was one of those people.
Stroman, terrified and angry, set out on a rampage to get even with Muslims. He killed two men and severely injured another before he was arrested and sentenced to death row. Documentarian Ilan Ziv was rattled by Stroman’s murderous acts, but he wanted to know more about him and give Mark a chance for redemption if the gunman truly felt remorse – hence Ziv’s latest doc An Eye for an Eye.
I haven’t seen any of Ziv’s previous films, but An Eye for an Eye features the filmmaker trying to emulate the confrontational, didactic filmmaking of Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man, Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World). Ziv receives the responses he wants (both from his subject and from his audience), but they’re packaged in a way that isn’t entirely original – as if Ziv has selected an approach that guarantees his safety as a storyteller rather than taking a chance to choose an individualized identity. This may be because the filmmaker is willing to forego artistic integrity in order to drive home his evocative message.
Nonetheless, An Eye for an Eye is very fascinating, and more relevant than ever. It’s a deep and considerate study on a desperate man and his unforgettable, unfortunate ripple effect.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie