At the Movies
To some extent, popular movements and agitators rely on their martyrs to keep the juices flowing. History is littered with examples of causes that languished in apathy and obscurity until blood was spilled, whether in a public square during a demonstration or inside the stone walls of an execution chamber. So it is with the notorious 1927 execution of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, two most likely innocent men who appeared to have been framed by an establishment fearful of both immigrants of the “wrong” kind and any sort of popular social justice movement. Seemingly good men both, probably guilty of nothing more than political activism, they would serve as standard-bearers for much of what was wrong about America during its period of greatest upheaval, when the promise of the world’s most powerful democracy quite often corrupted and left for dead. Peter Miller’s solid new documentary Sacco and Vanzetti is the story of that corruption.
My full review ran on filmcritic.com.Link