‘Do Not Resist’
Director: Craig Atkinson
3 (out of 5) Globes
“Do Not Resist” doesn’t have all the answers. It doesn’t even have all the information. It’s an activist doc about the growing militarization of the police, but it’s intentionally not comprehensive. There’s few talking heads, few facts written on the screen, and no sermonizing by director Craig Atkinson or even a celebrity narrator, begging us to care for an issue that plagues all of us. Instead it lays out scene after scene — from on-the-ground horrors in Ferguson to antiseptic conference rooms where fresh fish officers are brainwashed with a kill-or-be-killed mentality to the splashy unveiling of military do-hickeys that don’t need to be anywhere near small-town America — presenting a problem that’s already well out-of-control.
It’s a too rare kind of topical documentary: the one that makes its points through what it presents onscreen, without extra commentary by the filmmakers. Its brethren with “Killing Them Safely,” Nick Berardini’s study of the taser debate, and even the non-fictions of Frederick Wiseman — films that trust we can follow the filmmakers’ arguments by what they chose to include onscreen, without extra hand-holding. There are untold articles and even more traditional doc that can fill in the gaps, maybe even make a more convincing case. But as a 72-minute aria, “Do Not Resist” creates an experience, one haunting and anger-making, even darkly comic, particularly once no less than Rand Paul asking why small town police forces have added bayonets (!!) to their arsenals.