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Resolved (2007)

PG-13 | | Documentary | 23 June 2007 (USA)
The fascinating complexity of high school debate gives way to a portrait of the equally complex racial and class bias of American education in Greg Whiteley's riveting documentary. ... See full summary »


Greg Whiteley


Greg Whiteley
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »


Credited cast:
Samuel Alito Samuel Alito ... Samuel Alito
Louis Blackwell Louis Blackwell ... Louis Blackwell
Jon Bruschke Jon Bruschke ... Jon Bruschke
Matthew Edwards Matthew Edwards ... Matthew Edwards
Richard Funches Richard Funches ... Richard Funches
Sam Iola Sam Iola ... Sam Iola
Juan Williams Juan Williams ... Juan Williams
David Wiltz David Wiltz ... David Wiltz
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The fascinating complexity of high school debate gives way to a portrait of the equally complex racial and class bias of American education in Greg Whiteley's riveting documentary. Initially a portrait of top-flight debaters from well-funded, mostly white schools-like nationally ranked Sam Iola and Matt Andrews of Highland Park, Texas-the film deepens when it changes focus to Richard Funches and Louis Blackwell from Long Beach's Jordan squad. While gifted traditional debaters in their own right, the two decide to challenge the usefulness of the jargon-filled, 400-word-per-minute style of modern debate (known as "the spread") by steering their debates toward issues of personal experience and dialogue. What is the use of refining an argument, they stress, when it does not affect the reality of a person's locale and particular life? Why must individual perspective and bias be masked? For many, these questions present such a radical interpretive shift that competitors and judges crumble ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some strong language and teen smoking

User Reviews

No debate about this one
6 March 2010 | by bob-fritzSee all my reviews

When most people think of a debate, they picture televised Presidential debates, which are glorified campaign ads tailored for the viewing audience. If that's your idea of a debate, you may be in for a shock if you watch "Resolved." The only thing that competitive high school and college debate have in common with a Presidential debate is that both involve speaking.

"Resolved" takes the viewer into the world of top-level high school debate, which is both fascinating and incoherent. Since a strategy called "the spread" came into vogue in the 1960s, debate has morphed into a rapid-fire contest to see who can make the most arguments and read the most pieces of evidence in a short time span. Competitive debate features the fastest speaking this side of a Federal Express commercial. Luckily for the viewer, many clips from the debates in "Resolved" come with subtitles.

"Resolved" follows two debate teams--one from a rich college prep school near Dallas and one from an inner-city school in Long Beach. Both do quite well on the national level, which is compelling in itself, but things become complicated when the team from Long Beach changes its strategy from the dry piling-on of evidence to arguments born of their personal experience. A resolution about the detaining of terrorism suspects becomes personal as they work their own issues with racism into their arguments.

As a former college debater, "Resolved" brought back many memories, but it also made me think. While debate is a fun and educational scholastic activity, it is also weighted toward the rich and privileged. Just which students, after all, have the easiest access to the voluminous files of evidence necessary to succeed at debate's highest level? What does this say, not only about debate, but about education, and, in general, about American culture?

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23 June 2007 (USA) See more »

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