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From: Mark Leeper <mleeper@optonline.net>
Subject: Review: Let It Fall: 1982-1992 (2017)
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Subject: Review: Let It Fall: 1982-1992 (2017)
From: Mark Leeper <mleeper@optonline.net>
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LET IT FALL: 1982-1992
               (a film review by Mark R. Leeper)

    CAPSULE: A single documentary written and directed by 
    John Ridley covers the entire Rodney King Incident from 
    the decade-long buildup of anger to his high-speed chase 
    to the riots that lasted for five days and did an 
    estimated one billion dollars in damage and in which sixty 
    people died.  The style of the documentary is not 
    groundbreaking, but it has a flow of witness testimony 
    combined with footage of the surrounding events.  The slow 
    build-up of racial resentment increases over a decade of 
    time until the release of hostility seems inevitable.  
    The film is seemingly a very complete look at a decade of 
    increasing racial hostility.  Rating: +2 (-4 to +4) 
    or 7/10

Last summer there were several cases of apparently the same story 
from different parts of the country.  Police would deal with a 
man--usually black--being the victim of police brutality and/or 
racism.  And the treatment was met with protests and protests that 
"black lives matter."  To one degree or another they all were 
repeating the scenario of the Rodney King beating, the Rodney King 
Trial, and the Los Angeles race riots known as the Rodney King 
riots.  LET IT FALL: 1982-1992 documents at length the story of the 
Rodney King riot, the trial that led up to the riots, and the years 
of racism that led to the Rodney King beatings.

In the 1940s and 1950s the Los Angeles police department enjoyed a 
very positive reputation with the public.  It probably was looked 
upon as favorably as any police department in the country.  There 
was even a radio and later television program, "Dragnet", that was 
based on actual police cases and which made a star of Jack Webb as 
Sergeant Joe Friday, Badge 714.  But as South Central Los Angeles 
filled with greater numbers of ethnic minorities there was 
increasing friction among Blacks, Koreans, Hispanics, street-gangs, 
and drug dealers.  The police's style dealing with affluent whites 
was generally respectful, but their treatment of minorities was 
more one of exhibiting power and force.  Police who would be in 
South Central LA were trained not only in self-defense but in how 
best to restrain offenders with chokeholds, tasers, guns, etc. 

On March 3, 1991, King was captured by the California Highway 
Patrol after a high-speed chase.  The arresting officers from the 
LAPD brutally and horribly beat him.  What the officers had not 
counted on was that the beating was filmed on a video camera.  The 
video seemed to be incontrovertible proof of savage brutality from 
the police.  But there is no criteria of what force is excessive.

The police were put on trial and to the surprise of many the jury 
found them to be not guilty. After the famous tape of the beating 
is shown, it is hard to interpret the arrest as anything less than 
illegally excessive force.  This sparked a race riot of huge 
proportion.  More than sixty people lost their lives and the 
looting and fires continued for five days.

Much of the anger was taken out against Korean shop-owners who had 
done little wrong but whom the rioters identified with their 
oppressors.  Writer/director John Ridley's documentary shows the 
violence of the riots, the trial that led to the riots, the 
incident that led to the trial, and the years of racism that led to 
the incident.  It is all told by witnesses to the actual events, on 
and off the street.

The Rodney King beating should not have led to the unreasoning riot 
that it did.  But if it had not occurred, something worse probably 
would have happened elsewhere.  LET IT FALL: 1982-1992 stands with 
last year's O.J.: MADE IN AMERICA and I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO as a 
powerful retrospective on the dynamics of United States race 
relations.  I rate LET IT FALL a +2 on the -4 to +4 scale or 7/10.  
The film had a limited theatrical release in April 2017 at its full 
length of 144 minute and a television showing a week later cut to 
about 90 minutes.

Film Credits:

What others are saying:

					Mark R. Leeper
					Copyright 2017 Mark R. Leeper