Thursday, April 10, 2014

DIFF 2014 Revew: THE CASE AGAINST 8- Jonesy's Take

Directed by Ben Cotner and Ryan White
Synopsis: An in depth look at the trail of overturning prop 8 in California. 

THE CASE AGAINST 8 plays again tonight, 4/10, at The Angelika, and you can purchase tickets here!

In 2008, California passed proposition 8, which defined marriage as between a man and woman, therefore negating gay marriage in the state. Two couples, Jeff and Paul and Kris and Sandy, filed a petition to get the prop 8 overturned.  THE CASE AGAINST 8 follows this battle from the beginning all the way to its culmination when the Supreme Court gave its verdict last year.

Documentaries that follow court cases can sometimes feel dense and jargon heavy. However, the filmmakers here skillfully make this feel more like a we're following these two couples' journeys rather than the court case. The legal jargon never feels heavy handed nor bogs down the audience. It's perfectly paced. The film also doesn't bombard us with too many talking heads, so by the end, we feel connected to all of those involved with the case.

Other than the couples, we get to know their two attorneys, David Boies and Ted Olson. These two fellas were the opposing lawyers on the Bush v. Gore case, but now they've come together for a common cause. Two ideologically opposing lawyers coming together? It's straight out of Hollywood.  Watching them litigate is like watching all the best Perry Mason episodes.

Though this film shows just one side of this argument, they're not shy showing the defense of those who support prop 8. What's fascinating is the breakdown of supposed arguments for the "Yes on 8". The filmmakers let their case almost speak for itself, and at some points, it's down right comical the evidence they're using to try to keep prop 8. It doesn't try to persuade you with propaganda, rather it focuses on the facts of the case. This case saturated the news media last year, but cameras were not allowed into the actual trial. But we get to hear the actual transcripts read by witnesses and attorneys, and it feels as if we're almost there.

It's a difficult task to create a film in which the audience already knows the outcome. But CASE takes it a step further than just retelling the what happens in the trails, and brings the faces of those affected by prop 8 to the forefront. It's a fantastic film that should be viewed by anyone interested in gay marriage on either side.

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