Robert Greenwald, the lefty filmmaker who most famously attempted a takedown of Fox News with his 2004 documentary Outfoxed, has added to his activist canon with Making a Killing: Guns, Greed, and the NRA.
The doc’s relentless stats on gun ownership and victimhood in America, neatly incorporated into scenes depicting, say, everyday billboards or graffiti, are no doubt true. Greenwald’s sources are trustworthy, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, arrest statistics, think-tank research, press releases from the National Rifle Association, and gun companies themselves. And his stories — chapters on “Domestic Violence,” “Unintentional Shooting” (of a child, if you were wondering), “Suicide,” and, inevitably, “Mass Shooting” — are displays of heartbreaking senselessness.
Yet the film’s array of disconnections — between what the NRA and its political bedmates say and do; the consequences of rampant gun ownership and the relative impotence of gun-control activists — makes for a depressing merry-go-round, at least for those who are wary of guns or don’t worship at the altar of the Second Amendment.
With the last chapter, a look at the 2012 Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shooting, the film gains a disturbing level of energy from the panic and frenzy described by survivors and shown in smartphone footage. In the end, though, Making a Killing feels oddly static, like any fact-dense sermon to the choir.
Making a Killing: Guns, Greed, and the NRA
Directed by Robert Greenwald
Brave New Films
Opens August 19, Village East Cinema