Main Plot Points:
- The city that Oprah and President Obama call home has become marred by murder. In response to its staggering homicide rate, locals have coined it “Chiraq” (a hybrid of Chicago and Iraq). In 2012, Chicago averaged 42 homicides per month with nearly 70% of deaths caused by guns.
- Gunland begs the question, “Why Chicago?” Most would believe that hip-hop and its glorification of violence, guns and carnage is to blame for Chicago s gun-toting culture; however, this film goes beyond the headlines & stereotypes to discover that much more lies beneath the surface. The documentary attempts to discover the real reasons behind why young men and women of color are dying at the hands of their peers.
- Chicago sits directly in the crosshairs of a 30-billion-dollar drug trade. Half of all narcotics that enter the U.S. from Mexico can be traced back to the Sinaloa Cartel whose leader, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman calls Chicago his home. Last year Chicago’s crime commission named Guzman “Public Enemy No. 1” and said his gang supplied most of the city’s illicit drugs. The documentary exposes similar contributing factors such as the connection between drug cartels and gun trafficking, discriminatory gun legislation, police involvement, unemployment and systemic issues within African-American culture to discuss how guns have become so readily available in the Windy City.
- Through revealing interviews with gang members, activists, investigators and families of gun violence victims, Gunland looks to restore hope and examine solutions.
What We Thought:
- I do not own a gun, but I’m not against legal (registered firearm with background check) gun ownership. Gunland wants to be a bit biased against guns, but overall it’s not.
- They give a bunch of stats showing how bad gun violence is in Chicago, how the murder rate is the highest in the US and all that stuff. They have first person interviews with politicians, city leaders, gang bangers, religious folk and more.
- Of course the local politicians and city leaders blame the gun manufacturers and bigger politicians for allowing all the guns and thinking they run the black market. They blame gun makers for the guns hitting the streets.
- But one guy is the best man in the documentary. He’s an admitted gang banger yet is the smartest person in the conversation. He got his first gun because someone stole it not because gun makers leaked it to the streets. He doesn’t put his kids in his car because he’s done bad things and bad people can get him at any point so he doesn’t want his kids killed by accident. He doesn’t want anyone to feel sorry for him or for anyone to blame anybody, but himself for being a gang banger. He completely made the documentary for me. Other than being a gang banger, I thought he was pretty awesome.
- I honestly expected the film to be 100% anti-gun. I expected it to be completely biased, but it wasn’t. Many people talk about wanting gun control (Illinois has some of the strictest gun laws in the country by the way), but it doesn’t hit you over the head and beat it down your throat.
- Gunland is an interesting watch. It doesn’t really give any real answers to the problem, but if you don’t know what’s happening in Chicago, it might be shocking to you.
- Deleted Scenes
- Extended Interviews
Notable Cast & Crew:
- President Obama
Recommended if You Like:
- Bowling For Columbine