Flint Town created by Zackary Canepari, Drea Cooper, and Jessica Dimmock (Netflix, ZC/DC, Anonymous Content)
It’s a Big World After All
It can be so easy to label that which is different as other. The vagaries of life require our focus. Work, family, play. It can be easy to see the world only as large as the number of Facebook friends.
But, we live in a big world. And the people in that world work and recreate. But they are also different, distant.
So, by distance and by tradition these people become separate, not like us.
A Window into the Life of Another
Flint Town is a fascinating documentary because it shines a light on two subsets easy to define as other.
On one side, the series illuminated the plight of the poorest city in America. Not sure if you heard, but Flint doesn’t have any clean water. Flint has a high crime rate—is considered a violent city.
Why? Many historical and socio-economic factors begin to answer that question. But, there’s also something about the self-fulfillment of place. When everyone thinks something should be the case, it subconsciously encourages the community to be that kind of place.
On the other side, Flint Town outlines the unenviable task of law enforcement of this city. Low budgeted and distrusted by the masses, Flint police officers patrol a city for which they are helplessly overwhelmed to protect.
Documenting Chaotic Times
Highlighting a two-year period during the height of the 2016 presidential campaign and the Black Lives Matter movement, the views of these police officers vary, highlighting the nuance of a profession so often painted with one brush stroke.
Impeccably shot, Flint Town is an aesthetic experience, drawing its viewers into the experiences of police in this city.
But, for better or worse. Flint Town refuses to take a heavy-handed editorial approach. For some expecting a documentary to offer a specific moral position, Flint Town will be hopelessly gray.
Flint Town addresses many hot button issues from police brutality to Donald Trump. It even recognizes the tensions in the beliefs many of its protagonists hold. But, it never takes the step toward conclusion on any subject. Instead, it feels as if the documentarians are pleased merely with raising the question, rather than possibly positing an answer.
I could imagine such a position might be infuriating to many on both sides of the political spectrum.
For me, the lack of a definitive thesis doesn’t bother me too much. Flint Town offers a slice of life for an American town in hardship. Instead of keeping a head in the clouds of daily work and family responsibilities, Flint Town forces its viewers to flex the empathy muscles for eight episodes. And that, in and of itself, is quite valuable.
Verdict: 3.5 out of 5