Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992
(John Ridley, 2017)
Like The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson
, this film's title is a bit misleading. The time from 1982-1991 is really just prologue (40 minutes of the 143-minute running time), acting as something of a refresher of material covered in O.J.: Made in America
. The bulk of the film is a thorough recounting, through interviews and archival footage, of the beating of Rodney King, the trial of the officers involved, and the uprising that followed the verdicts. It's a very engaging historical narrative, strengthened by well curated archival footage and a diverse array of insightful interviews. One especially cool touch is that it's not clear initially what role each interview subject played in the drama, and every slow reveal carries the satisfaction of a puzzle piece snapping into place.
There are some very involving sequences, especially in the last third, at 71st and Normandy, and the editing provides the film with strong shape and flow. Oddly, though, the actually cutting of the interviews often feels amateur and even rushed, as if they ran out of time on the final cut before the planned distribution date. Sound bytes are repeated (presumably by accident), sound bridges are poorly used, in distracting fashion, and the fades of both audio and video feel inept at times — as if they were placeholder transitions that they forgot to fine-tune. Very odd in a film that is otherwise very polished.
Those technical issues do little to detract from the engagement offered by the documentary. It's a good watch that doesn't feel nearly as long as it is. I don't know that it's especially revelatory or politically inspiring, but it's a good story, well told. I'm hoping to compare LA 92
sooner than later.Grade:
BI was getting some Pampers.