December 6, 2016, They Call Us Monsters, Movieclips Film Festivals & Indie Films
In a world where children grow up sleeping on the floor, numerous families crammed into a two-bedroom apartment, barely receiving enough sustenance to stay alive, these kids begin life with nothing but survival instincts. Fathers in prison. Mothers staying home to care for their children. The kids needing to find monies for their families. Their parents grew up in identical conditions before them and know nothing of survival in an “acceptable” way because they have NEVER been given instruction. We need to remember that what we know is due to years of instruction, they are not innate abilities we understand when we are born–we have been taught.
Watch the movie WITH your kids, pausing for periodic discussions, and remember that kids often have no sense of the future — only their immediate desires. Parents must teach them about consequences and the way the law works. It’s much more than “don’t get caught,” it’s about not doing it in the first place. There will be repercussions for every decision, and some of those consequences alter lives of other innocent people who happen to be at the right place at the wrong time.
Admittedly, as a writer myself, I was pleased to see the opportunity for these young men to create a substantial work from within the walls of a prison. Their ideas were phenomenal and their hard work toward something of context is unparalleled. At first, I appreciated the semi-counseling of the first meeting from the filmmaker. As the film progressed, I was disappointed to realize his purpose for tackling this project appeared not to do with the boys as much as granting himself credit. He began adding lines to situations he knows nothing about. It always irritates me to see writers embarking on unfamiliar subjects without bothering to research. He went there for a purpose and should have followed through the first time. Thank goodness, he backed off and allowed them free reign. The actors portraying the story? They were great. So were the camera crew and writers of the score.
One other frustrating item was the subtitles. When words are inaudible or in another language, for the audience to comprehend what is taking place, the story must be readable. Aside from these minor things, the idea behind allowing the public in to view the thinking of these young men was good. Still — what of the victims? And what can we do as a society to mold the future with the present so messed up?