Tribeca 2019 Film Review: “Slay the Dragon” (2019) ★★★★★

Transparency in any election is a sign of democracy. But what happens if big corporations or one political party makes it look as if you are the one who chooses a politician for the next term but in reality, it’s been a charade? Because the winner has already been determined through redrawn voting maps based on demographic data? For instance, if they can predict you or someone who you know will vote against one political party, in this case, the one in power they will make sure you still vote, but your vote, in reality, will not matter. As you probably know, this gerrymandering practice has been around for over two hundred years but has been used for the last ten years in the United States with one sole intention – to take away the rights of its citizens as the decision-maker.

“Slay the Dragon” is an eye-opening documentary that captures the reality of the gerrymandering practice, its impact on the US Election system, the votes of American people that is cast during the election and cleverly played out map that does its trick so one party can celebrate the victory, in this case, the Republican Party and its Redmap project. Fed up with injustice, one young woman named Katie Fahey, with no political experience, challenges the state by beginning to gather over one hundred thousand signatures to put an anti-gerrymandering initiative on the ballot in an already severely wounded Michigan and it’s Flint who is at the center of a scheme aggressively promoted by Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin and the Republican Party. 

It’s quite scary even to get deep into the details of gerrymandering as the film takes on full speed unfolding the complexity of its practice or how it’s being executed from one election to another. Through the extended number of interviews provided in the documentary, directors Barak Goodman and Chris Durrance create a surreal atmosphere within one hour and a half that will leave you motionless the entire time. Just to think about that all this election manure that happens in the united states is unthinkable and unreal, but in the meantime, is clear at delivering one message – Democracy is on the edge of disappearing in a country that is supposed to be its protector.

In the end, “Slay the Dragon” is a timely piece that every single voter in the United States must watch. Because the gerrymandering practice will not work if people continue exercising their voting rights and leave the comfort of their home and to vote for the sake of their country that may no longer be the same. And as John Adams, the second President of the United States said, “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” Let’s just hope we don’t have to witness that with the United States. However, with all the political chaos occurs in the States, it’s highly unlikely that John Adams’ prediction may not just materialize but is probably already underway at full speed showing no signs of slowing down.

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