Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actor: Tony Grocki; Penny Perkins; Mark Musto; Yvonne Perry; Glenn Allen
Director: Thomas Mercer
Genres: Mystery & Suspense
Set in the near future, where the government (in the name of security) resorts to heightened surveillance of it's own citizens, and extremists boldly rebel and take up arms in resistance. Political intrigue abounds in a c... more »
Between Liberty and Security
Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 05/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
Between Liberty and Security
Amos Lassen and Cinema Pride
When I received my copy of "Uncivil Liberties" from Ariztical Films, I had no idea of what to expect. I was surprised at the quality of the film and the nature of its subject. After having seen so many cheesy gay films, I was hardly prepared for a first rate political thriller. "Uncivil Liberties" looks deeply at the future consequences of government surveillance of private individuals. It is loaded with ethical ambiguity. Directed by Tom Mercer, this is a hard hitting look at what could well become reality.
The movie is set in the near future ad depicts an America where the government uses the highest of all surveillance methods on its citizens I the name of national security. Domestic extremists rebel ad take up arms in resistance. The world is turned upside down as political intrigue rules. Militia assassin, Mike Watson, suddenly ad unexpectedly decides to ignore the violence that is demanded by his assignment. Cynthia Porter, Homeland Security officer sabotages a government spying operation on purpose and the two must now pay the price for betraying the government organizations which they had served so faithfully. Cynthia is labeled as a terrorist by those she formerly worked with and faces both personal and professional crises. Wilson is then gunned down by one of his own comrades and his pacifism finds a new home in Sam Norton who becomes involved with stopping a terrorist plot to bomb Cynthia's office and save her from government agents. Twists and turns continue I this very highly charged political thriller.
"Uncivil Liberties" is a cautionary tale of what can happen if we are watched too much. When the system breaks down, everything goes awry and the consequences that follow are disastrous. Here we have a point of view which we should all be thinking about. When the government uses its "War on Terror" to justify the end of our civil liberties, it is time for us to begin a war. Both war and suppression of liberties are actions that our government s only too eager to take. The future consequences of this type of society means that we can be spied on in everything we do. The movie raises questions which make us think. The righteous claim that the differences between good and evil are what pushed this country into a quagmire of trouble in the past few years. The answers to our problems are probably in the handsof the most dangerous of people.
The movie was filmed on direct to video which gives it a very realistic look--something like watching live news o CNN. The cast turns in performances that are real and honest and if I did not know that I was watchig a movie, I would think I was simply watching the news. The movie lies somewhere between liberty and security. The theme is especially important to the GLBT community as we have always been thought f as subcvervise. The few rights that we have now could be considerably lessened or eliminated altogether. The rise of a state of surveillance should be disturbing to everyone but especially to us.
The movie had to be somewhat ambiguous as there are no direct answers. Material in the movie comes from current events and this makes it all the more frightening. We live in a world that has been turned upside down and in a scenario like the one in "Uncivil Liberties". We may never see it turn itself right-side up.
Kevin D | Albany, NY United States | 03/22/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this movie at the Madison Theater in Albany and I was impressed by the solid performances from most of the lead actors. The story is very topical, yet the film manages to avoid any soapbox grandstanding (and I will do the same)."
Dr. Cindy L. Parrish | USA | 03/23/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Watch this film for its content but also for a really wonderful performance by Penny Perkins (and others). Tom Mercer has crafted a truly thought-provoking feature about the lack of a line (fine or otherwise) between civil liberties and national security. Nobody is either secure or at liberty in this really fine first effort. Independant film is alive and well, however!"
"There is no 'System'..."
Colleen Lovett | 03/23/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I highly recommend Uncivil Liberties to anyone interested in exploring the fine line that runs between the protection and violation of our "inalienable rights". Director Tom Mercer shows us a world of characters who walk that "fine line", and he counterbalances them so that we ask just what it might be that makes a person a terrorist, a patriot, or a force of oppression vs. freedom in "The System". I think it took a lot of "chuztpah" for Mercer and his producers to make this film, to show it at a high traffic venue (where I saw it), and to give voice to opinions not completely shared by the mainstream movie-going public.
It is also one of the finest specimens of independent *and* low budget film making I've seen, and shows us that low-budget is not synonymous with low quality--by any stretch. The story, photography, editing, and acting all point to the professionalism of the filmmakers, and their ability to turn out a quality product. And be sure to watch the behind-the-scenes documentary to learn about the dedication and persistence it took to make Uncivil Liberties. This film is an inspiration for first-time independent filmmakers everywhere.
Other cinematic touches I enjoyed: A journey into the interior of an urban mosque in which a working definition of justice gets..."discussed" (you'll have to see for yourself). Also, a touch of "techno-mysticism" when we glimpse into the subconscious of the film's heroine (anti-heroine?) implying an organic link between our collective consciousness as humans and the complex networks of computers that connect us in our daily activities (needless to say, When a film goes *there*, I am instantly hooked!).
But for all its timeliness and topicality, while watching it I was sometimes reminded of older favorites like Odd Man Out (1947) and other films that depecit the social dynamics of separatist groups. Another in that category I liked was No (1998) about Quebec separatism. Maybe watch all of these in sequence and toss in your own politically-themed favorites for a livingroom film festival that studies the dynamics of political oppression and subversion. And while you do this, be sure to cherish your absolute right to do so!