Hot Docs 2018 Review: “The Blue Wall” (2018) ★★★★


“The Blue Wall” is not an easy documentary to write about. In fact, its concept is so painful that I barely can come up with words that could fit with the chaos described in it. But I guess the right way is just to leave emotions aside, let the words flow and after that see its outcome.

Set in Chicago, October 20, 2014, Laquan McDonald was on the road, seemingly not doing anything dangerous even though he was holding a knife in his hand. When the police is called to the scene, two officers follow him but seconds later one bullet was sent towards him. As his body catches one bullet, another fifteen is shot by Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke which eventually ends Laquan’s life. As the massive police cover up begins, it soon will appear that it was not the first time when Chicago’s police officers use extensive violent actions towards minors. But it will be the release of the actual video that will put the city on its knees to demand the answer to one simple question, “Why did the police officer continued to shoot at the kid when it could’ve just used a warning shot?”

The forensic examination of Laquan McDonald offered in “The Blue Wall” is outstanding. Providing the interview footage with witnesses or the private investigator, the featured narrative touches the need for all of to feel outraged over the killing of a harmless teen. Yes, many including myself might ask why on earth Laquan McDonald needed to hold a knife in his hand or walk strangely in the middle of the night and God knows why he simply ignored the police demand. But despite those logical questions, the police’s response to that was unreasonable, cruel and as a result of it was rightly considered as a first degree murder.

In conclusion, “The Blue Wall” is a perfectly executed docu-film that educates the viewer on so many levels. It never goes beyond Chicago and leaves the story within its jurisdiction to spend enough time to highlight the ongoing corruption within the police department, which at the end of the day cannot be fixed overnight. But even triggering the actual process to fix the damage brought corruption and the abuse of power by the law enforcement, let’s hope that during the transitioning process from bad to good we won’t lose any more lives, because if it happens, we will go back to where we have started realizing that no matter how hard we try, the incidents described in “The BlueWall” may not come to an end and rather will never stop because of the same mistakes we human beings tend to repeat all over again.

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