Director Jason Osder's grieving account of the deadly police assault on the MOVE collective's fortified Philadelphia row house works small, continuous miracles with a variety of existing footage.
| Original Score: 4/4
Jason Osder's stunning debut documentary offers a disturbing look at a forgotten tragedy.
| Original Score: 3/4
[Osder] cuts between news footage of the events as they unfurled and testimony from hearings held afterward to create a stark, nonjudgmental portrait of an incident that probably needn't have happened.
"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.
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.
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 ...
It earns its considerable impact by telling an unnerving story and leaving it, in ways both daring and effective, fundamentally unresolved.
Jason Osder's gripping documentary revisits the notorious 1985 police raid against the black liberation group MOVE in west Philadelphia.
[A] lean and deeply unsettling archival-footage documentary.
| Original Score: A-
Let the Fire Burn offers an even-handed depiction of the racial conflict that led to the conflagration on Osage Avenue.
The pure-archive approach leaves a taste of despair; civic governance, it seems, can't even promise not to kill you.
Jason Osder's riveting documentary chronicles the escalating confrontations between the Philadelphia police and the radical group Move.
Seamlessly fashioned from television news footage, public hearings and other sources, the movie relives an incredible chapter in American history.
A first-rate piece of forensic filmmaking.
| Original Score: 4/5
There's never enough information.
Let the Fire Burn is a time machine. It shows there are truths out there waiting to be found-that footage already shot can make history in all its terrible finality breathe.