When Michael Dunn murdered 17-year-old Jordan Davis in the parking lot of Gate gas station in Jacksonville, Fla., on Nov. 23, 2012, the bullets not only ripped through Jordan’s body but also tore open the hearts of his parents, Ron Davis and Lucia McBath, before finally slicing through the post-racial lie America pretends to believe about itself.
Director Marc Silver (Who Is Dayani Cristal?) drills into that volatile intersection where the personal crashes into the political with his award-winning film 3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets.
Silver masterfully weaves the narratives of Jordan and Dunn—who is now 48 and serving life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of Jordan and the attempted murders of his three friends, Tevin Thompson, Tommie Stornes and Leland Brunson—crisscrossing between the two until they ultimately collide at Gate gas station.
The details of the fatal incident, sparked because Dunn couldn’t bear the disrespect of the black teenager blasting his “thug music” in the vehicle next to him, are well-known. The pacing of this film, however, explores in intimate detail the devastation that Jordan’s death leaves behind.
Yes, we see the strength of his parents. African-American parents who’ve had their children ripped from them by racists unable and unwilling to recognize their humanity are always praised for their strength when overcoming the unimaginable. But it is the undiluted, backbreaking grief of Ron Davis and Lucia McBath that guides this film. Their vulnerability is palpable as they grapple with the fragility not only of their own son’s life in the face of white rage and bigotry but also of black life as a whole in the United States.
Source: The Root | KIRSTEN WEST SAVALI