Falling between the Trayvon Martin case and the recent Black Lives Matter movement, the 2012 murder of Florida teenager Jordan Davis and the controversial trial that followed is less familiar outside the US. Hanging out with his friends in a petrol station car park, middle-class high-school student Davis got into an altercation with white, middle-aged out-of-towner Mike Dunn, over loud music.
The situation escalated when Dunn pulled a pistol and fired ten times. The trial that followed exposed the insanity of Florida’s ‘Stand your Ground’ laws – which state that deadly force is justified if the perpetrator believes they’re in danger, with or without evidence – and became a cause celebre both for gun control advocates and National Rifle Association nutjobs for whom every black kid is a tooled-up gangbanger.
For this slick, beautifully paced documentary, director Marc Singer was given unprecedented access to everything from police tapes to trial recordings to Dunn’s own private phone conversations, and the result is a uniquely compelling real-life legal thriller. For those of us on the outside it’s also a fascinating, bizarre, often disturbing insight into the kaleidoscope of American culture, from gun rights to religious mania to the twisted theatre that constitutes a jury trial.