Let The Fire Burn is an incendiary documentary that uses archival footage to weave a compelling, all-important tale of tragedy bred from anger and misunderstanding.
| Original Score: 10/10
"Let the Fire Burn" offers a searing picture of how dumb and dangerous humans can be.
| Original Score: B
It's scary as both a movie and a still-reverberating moment in time.
Brilliantly edited, the film moves back and forth in time, first tracking the events leading up to the confrontation through news reports of the day.
| Original Score: 3/4
A unique and disturbing work, Jason Osder's documentary "Let the Fire Burn" uses only archival footage to tell the story of a terrible day in a Philadelphia neighborhood 28 years ago.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Eschews talking-heads tradition in its potent examination of the 1985 Philadelphia police firebombing of a radical group known as MOVE.
Osder creates both intensity and intimacy, inviting viewers simply to watch and listen as a tragedy - born of unchecked aggression, incoherent ideology and appallingly faulty logic - unfolds.
| Original Score: 4/4
Apart from the score and the very occasional basic intertitle to help us along, all we see and hear is footage from the day. We're immersed in the present of this world.
| Original Score: 4/5
It's gripping and shocking.
Mesmerizing and provocative, Burn creates an unnerving atmosphere of troubling decisions on both sides of the conflict, permitting the viewer to understand the thought process that went into the explosive endgame.
| Original Score: A-
No contemporary talking heads; none needed.
A stain on a city's past
Shocking events in Philadelphia get their day at the movies
Piecing the components together, and only sparingly deploying intertitle cards for clarity, Let the Fire Burn brings this 28-year-old tragedy front and center again - vividly, viscerally.
Uses no narrators, talking heads or fancy graphics to tell its devastating story. It doesn't need to.
Eloquent, even-handed, and meticulously constructed ...
Comes at the material in a fascinating, counterintuitive way. Powerful and heartbreaking
Missing are modern-day talking head interviews with analysts or those who were there in 1985. This does not help those unfamiliar with the deadly event to get the historical perspective of time.
| Original Score: B-
It earns its considerable impact by telling an unnerving story and leaving it, in ways both daring and effective, fundamentally unresolved.