Part 30: Strong Island

“How do you measure the distance of reasonable fear?” – Yance Ford, Strong Island

strong island


Best Documentary Feature

My Two Cents

This documentary feature is about William Ford, Jr who was shot and killed in New York during an incident at a car garage.  A Grand Jury elected to not file charges against the man who shot and killed him (meaning they determined no crime had been committed even after it had been ruled a homicide), seemingly making William the prime suspect in his own murder, and the family has struggled with that ever since (the shooting was more than 25 years ago).  William is the brother of the filmmaker, Yance Ford who appears in quite a bit of the film as either the interviewer or on film recounting the story.  This one in the most simple of terms is about racism in America, injustice, and our justice system.

I liked how the film was shot; it was really straight forward in style, and I liked the add of the old pictures that helped tell the story.  It was almost like watching a novel unfold, which can be attributed to the mother being a great storyteller (I mean that in a good way).  There were a couple of storylines that took a while to build up, and I wasn’t a big fan of the ending but that’s all because i don’t like things being left that open-ended!  That being said, the ending is really quite perfect for this story where’s just absolutely no end in sight from the family’s perspective given their inability to cope with the loss.

The documentary is memorable, intriguing and frustrating.  I think the most heartbreaking part is that his mother has gotten absolutely no closure and the family just doesn’t seem to be able to cope with the lack of justice served – they’ve truly been crippled by it.  Worth a watch for all of you Netflixers out there.

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