Saturday, October 6, 2018

Movie Review: "Dodging Bullets" (2018)

Director: Kathy Broere and Bobby Trench
Year: 2018
Rating: NR
Running Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

A look at how historical trauma has influenced the present day lives of America's indigenous people and how the exploitation the Native American individuals continues even today.

Dodging Bullets 2018 survivors of historical trauma documentary movie still
"We worry more about the indigenous people of other countries before the indigenous people of this country." (Image Source)
It's hard to fully grasp how it must feel to be treated like an outcast, like an invader, on your own land, in your own country. Native Americans were here first, yet they have been and still are treated like they don't belong. "Dodging Bullets" is a documentary directed by Kathy Broere and Bobby Trench. It takes a look at the lives of the people of the indigenous tribes of North America and the problems that plague them today, including high rates of suicide, alcoholism, death at the hands of police officers, and other issues. It also explores the notion of how unresolved historical trauma, oppression, racism, and their treatment as outsiders in their own country has led to constant tragedy. Interviews with sociologists, legal experts, and Native American people of all ages explore their individual and collective experiences, explaining in detail what it's like to be a Native in America today.
Dodging Bullets 2018 survivors of historical trauma documentary movie still
"Just because we have a constitutionally protected right to be a jerk doesn't mean we should always so freely exercise it." (Image Source)
As young Americans in school, we are taught about colonization. Historical figures like Christopher Columbus are portrayed as heroes who led Europeans to a new world. At least this is what we learned growing up, we're not sure if the curriculum has changed much in the decades since we attended elementary and middle school. To many people, however, Columbus and others who came after him are actually villains who ushered in the exploitation and eventual genocide of an entire race of people. Directors Broere and Trench use "Dodging Bullets" to try to convey how historical trauma has left a lasting impression and an irreparable effect on indigenous people long after these atrocities ended. Historical factors, culture, and what we are taught is acceptable leads us to think it's tolerable and defensible to have a football team named after a racial slur. It should be a no-brainer that the term "Redskin" is offensive and should not have ever been an acceptable name for an athletics team. Can you imagine if right now, another derogatory term for a group of people was not only suggested but sanctioned as a sports franchise name? No? So why, other than sheer greed, are the "Redskins" still allowed to be called the "Redskins"?!

"Dodging Bullets" isn't just about mascots. It is broken up into various different parts about how issues like the normalization of this derogatory term have continued to paint a picture of who Native Americans are. This has and continues to diminish them as people, and in turn, it makes others think they are entitled to treat them as the stereotypes they see in popular culture. This documentary also addresses very personal issues like high rates of substance abuse and suicide, the ongoing marginalization Native Americans face in their own towns and states on both a local and countrywide level, how the mistreatment of young Natives by government-run boarding schools forced assimilation onto them decades ago, and how this all continues to have a negative, persisting effect on families.
Dodging Bullets 2018 survivors of historical trauma documentary movie still
"It's just who you are because of wounds that never heal." (Image Source)
We had a very sobering experience watching "Dodging Bullets." It was difficult to hear the stories of how these citizens have been mistreated, which has often led to a collective distrust of authority figures. Any time, but especially now in our current divisive political climate, it is painful to hear how an entire generation of people have been conditioned to believe that they are less than. How can we still call ourselves the greatest country on earth knowing Native American people have been marginalized, traumatized, misconceived, called racist names, misunderstood, and broken down, for decades? These issues don't get enough attention in our modern world because the exploitation of Native Americans is often erroneously viewed as a thing of the past when it is still very much a prominent problem in the present. This documentary is a teachable moment for everyone, and we believe it is a must see.

**"Dodging Bullets" will be playing as part of the San Diego International Film Festival on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, at 12:30pm at the Arclight Cinemas theater in the UTC mall in La Jolla.**

My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 8/10
IMDB's Rating: ---/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: ---%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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