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Hot Docs 2016 Review: “Frame 394” (2016) ★★★★


Documentary film “Frame 394” touches one of the most sensitive topics most of us would avoid talking about. By saying ‘talking about’, I mean to take the side of a man who got killed by a police officer or to justify the action of the police officer as he had no other choice left? There is no right answer to that, but in the meantime, to stay truthful to the story and not jump to conclusion based on public opinion is what’s really important.

The dramatic video is shot from a distance and captures when officer Michael Slager began shooting at Walter Scott. Its immediate aftermath and endless protests will strike the country to blame the officer of unthinkable action and murder of a black man. However, after you see the video you will truly think that the officer made up a story in order to justify his action. But shortly after, everything will appear no longer as simple as it was before.

As the story unfolds, in graphic video you find Scott on the ground. The officer walks over towards the man, who shortly after dies. Even though everything appears as it looked in the video, it’s a Torontonian man, Daniel Voshart, who finds something incredible that may change the course of the trial significantly. While the officer is facing the charges and may end up on the electrical chair, it’s Voshart’s show time who sees in the video something the entire country refuses to see.

How many times do you hear how an officer killed “an innocent” man? A lot! But in “Frame 394” you will get to look at a similar story from a different angle that may change your mind. Voshart analyzes the video second by second and finds the crucial fact that may be the alibi of a man, who he in the beginning wanted to prove guilty. It is of course the society that gets too passionate if the police officer does something wrong, but when it comes to face the real fact of the matter that lead to the unfortunate event, is what many do not want to talk about.

In conclusion, “Frame 394” is an extremely important documentary film to watch. It fearlessly talks about the issues that most you, most likely, would disagree. But it is also important to keep a clear mind the way Voshart did in order to find the truth. This film clearly emphasizes how sometimes it can be easy to blame someone in murder rather to think outside of the box. It shows the chaos that happens in the country, demanding the officer to face the charges while Voshart’s findings can prove otherwise. But no matter what it is, one thing can’t be undone – a man’s precious life is lost. Now, the nation demands the blood of the officer like it used to be in the ancient world. And that’s what might scary you most.

Screening time:

Tue, May 3 6:30 PM Isabel Bader Theatre

Thu, May 5 7:00 PM Hart House Theatre

Sat, May 7 6:30 PM Isabel Bader Theatre
Click here for more information.
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