Review of Newtown

Newtown (2016)
gut wrenching moments,... but great sensitivity and understanding
30 July 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Charlton Heston, the Oscar winning actor and one time President of the powerful lobby group the National Rife Association, once declared: "From my cold dead hands." And while America awaits sensible legislation and gun control laws, more innocent victims are lost in senseless massacres from people who probably should not have had access to a lethal weapon in the fits place. In his gun control documentary Bowling For Columbine Michael Moore used humour as a weapon and as a powerful tool in his cry for tighter laws on gun ownership. There is precious little humour to be found in this raw and emotional documentary from director Kim A Snyder that looks at the aftermath of the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in a perfect and safe little town in rural Connecticut. On the morning of December 14, gunman Adam Lanza shot his own mother and then drove to the nearby school where he opened fire, killing 20 young children and six adults before turning the gun on himself. Snyder comes into a community still raw with emotion, grief and a palpable sense of anger at yet another senseless slaughter of the innocent. Snyder (who worked as an assistant producer with Jodie Foster on the comedy Home For The Holidays) incorporates lots of newsreel footage here along with some intimate interviews with first responders, the local priest, and William Begg, the ER doctor who talks about the traumatic impact of the bullets on the young bodies. Snyder also connects with three families affected by the tragedy - the Bardens, the Hockleys and the Wheelers - who all lost a child in the massacre, and they talk openly and honestly about how they are trying to move on from the loss. Snyder obviously has an agenda here as she tries to put the focus firmly on the emotional and controversial issue of gun control and the inadequacy of legislators to address the problem. There are some gut wrenching moments throughout, but she handles this material with great sensitivity and understanding. This is a study of a community torn apart by tragedy and attempting to rebuild their lives and find some positives. If this incident doesn't change America's attitude towards tighter gun laws then possible nothing ever will. And despite President Obama's attempts to change the laws yet again the US Senate backed away from tighter gun laws.
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