Unborn in the USA
Directed by Stephen Fell and Will Thompson
First Run Features
Opens June 15, Cinema Village
Unborn in the USA, a reality-show-style portrait of anti-abortion activists, started out as a class assignment for directors Stephen Fell and Will Thompson, students at Rice at the time. Unfortunately, you can tell. The camera's shakiness and inability to focus on anything gave me a raging headache before 10 minutes had elapsed. The film itself suffers from the opposite problem: It is too focused, too unwilling to waver from its mission of taking us inside the pro-life movement, even when it turns out that it's a pretty boring place to be. Although the press materials boast that Fell and Thompson traveled to 35 states to shoot Unborn, their footage has a depressing sameness to it: The protesters all spout the same sound bites and hold up the same posters of broken, bloody baby parts. We spend what seems like ages following a group of young pro-lifers as they set up a controversial exhibit at the University of Denver, but all we get for the trouble is scene after scene of inarticulate college students screaming at each other.