S.L.I.F.F. Review: ‘Number One With a Bullet’
What is the truth behind the current state of violence in America? This is the central question in ‘Number One With a Bullet’, a new documentary from James Dziura that tackles the underlying social roots of gun violence in America. Dziura does a good job of spreading his scope of the film out wider than other recent films on the same topic. The film doesn’t strictly focus on inner city violence and gangs, but the subjects of the film are generally derived from the rap and hip-hop genres of music and culture. In contrast, Dziura occasionally places the more right wing cultures of America side by side with that of the hip-hop culture for inspection, revealing some disturbing realizations.
‘Number One With a Bullet’ features interviews with some major hip-hop personalities, including Ice Cube, Mos Def and Obie Trice. The film is actually structured more like a book with several chapters than the more straight forward three act formula. The draw back of this however is that the film eventually starts to wear the viewer down and sort of gets lost in itself. The recognizable personalities in the film give their own personal stories of experience and opinions on what’s really happening.
This is a documentary that offers a lot of valuable information to anyone who wants to understand beyond the mere perception of what causes and stimulates the violence we experience in this country. It’s not simply a matter of violent video games, poor parenting or gangster rap music… but these are all small measures of influence that fuel an already blazing inferno that has existed in America for years. It also becomes apparent that there are more than just two sides of this debate. ‘Number One With a Bullet’ is an extremely thoughtful and informative study of this issue, but falters slightly with a 101 minute running time and a somewhat disorganized approach.
[Overall: 3 stars out of 5]
Festival Screening Date: Sunday, November 16 @ 4:30pm (Tivoli)