Let The Fire Burn - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Let The Fire Burn Reviews

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February 9, 2016
Fuck the Philadelphia Police. Solidarity with MOVE.
December 10, 2015
Predecessor to the botched raid and further nonsense in Waco TX which was only a few years after this, Let The Fire Burn uses solely archival footage to tell this 1985 story with wild candor, heart, and shocking immediacy.
Stunning, infuriating, amazingly emotional - the police commissioner and mayor decided to bomb a verbally hostile group camped out in a housing development and then let it burn with people inside, and the innocent neighboring houses burn down as well.
The news cameras rolled during this whole incident, and later interviews are used as well to crushing effect.
This is not an easy movie to experience, and yet it allows you to understand the human suffering on both sides of the controversy.
You will also experience the aggravation, horror, and misunderstandings on all sides.
A piercing, heart-felt take on a truly tragic set of circumstances.
Don't miss this sobering testament.

5 out of 5
October 25, 2015
Mind-boggling to think this happened. A doc using only footage and no talking heads makes for an immersive experience.
March 18, 2015
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 ‚?? but was propelled by people on both sides who seemed uninterested in preventing it.
February 27, 2015
Disturbing and eye-opening footage masterfully pieced together for this outstanding documentary that takes no sides, but merely tells this gruesome story of American people.
½ January 5, 2015
In what could have been a complete, forgive the pun, burn of one side or the other, Osder manages to show both the enraged extremism of MOVE and the callous negligence of Philadelphia officials as equally damning. When they announce to MOVE, holed up in their "bunker" on Osage St. "Attention MOVE, this is America," it sounds as if they are attacking as from one nation to another. Perhaps it should never have gotten that far, but it does highlight the current racial/social divide coming more and more to light across the U.S. that we all pretended wasn't there. Although the actions of the police, of city officials, of this person of that color, or that person of this color may not speak for all, their need to live the life they want without persecution or ruin does. If anything, stories like this allow us to take a step back and reflect that given enough time we end up becoming our own worst enemy when we need to be each others' keepers, if not friends.
½ September 8, 2014
This is how a documentary should be made, out of entirely archival footage showing both sides of the story. An amazing lesser known story similar to waco or ruby ridge but in an urban setting.
½ August 1, 2014
Meticulous and expertly researched. Excellent documentary.
½ July 26, 2014
A Fearless and gripping film.

July 16, 2014
Never before I watch a documentary that is so tensed, it's almost like a thriller...
July 3, 2014
One of the best documentaries I've seen. Entirely using found footage, this film documents the stand off between MOVE and the Philadelphia police department in 1985. I found it balanced - it doesn't shy away from showing MOVE as it actually was or from faulting the group when it deserves fault. But, in the end, it clearly makes the point that MOVE was systematically vilified by the press and police department and shows the horrific outcome of that vilification.
June 20, 2014
Great documentary about a horrific siege that occurred in Philadelphia during the early 1980's. The police action which included dropping a bomb on a building with young children inside it was both brutal and murderous and had very strong overtures of racism.
May 10, 2014
Great documentry. A must see
½ May 7, 2014
In May of 1985, a long series of tense stand-offs and confrontations between various factions of Philadelphia government agents (elected officials, the PD and FDs) and a radically-minded group of dissidents collectively known as MOVE came to an explosive and fiery end (literally). The group known as MOVE were under the "leadership" of John Africa who began "preaching" against the system and telling his followers the "absolute truth" of what the government was actually up to. While I whole-heartedly disagreed with the man's tactics, I think he had a valid point about technology vs. nature. The feud between him and the city of Philadelphia stretched back nearly a decade with MOVE (mostly) demonstrating peacefully much to the frustration of those who wanted to take them down. It is unfortunate that events escalated as they did (violence and arrests) leading many in MOVE to change their tactics to instead become antagonistic of even their peaceful neighbors who had kept quiet and minded their own business. The shocking lack of human intelligence or thought put forth in actual testimony should scare the bejesus out of most of us ... as these are our elected officials. It brings to mind the recent Cliven Bundy case -- these people were also breaking laws -- and the outcomes of the two instances could NOT be any more different. MOVE were thinkers who thought outside the box of conventionalism. They were different to be sure but they didn't deserve this fate. The outpouring of support for these people "preaching" about the overreach of government is pretty much non-existent ... and I wonder why (not really).
April 25, 2014
Very powerful and somewhat surreal filmmaking.
April 22, 2014
Tragically fascinating.
½ April 19, 2014
I am not a big documentary buff. I will only check something out unless it catches my eye and interests me enough to see it. This piece of American history is something I have NEVER heard about which is why it caught my interest. It deals with the tragic and negligent actions made on the Philly police department (and it's mayor) for creating what would be known as the Osage Avenue Tragedy. It was based around the immediate actions that were needed to made against a certain "organization" known as MOVE. This "organization" was devised of Black people who were trying to create their own peaceful lifestyle based around the sayings of a man named John Africa. This "organization" would challenge the state of Philly, it's mayor and it's people in what THEY considered as life.

Try to imagine a time in the 70s. Racism was still alive and well, but mostly hidden at this point. It just needed to be boiled up in certain kind of way. MOVE certainly helped in rising the racial tensions and giving a whole new meaning of controlled life. Philly police, even in the 70s and 80s (maybe still, I don't know) were racist. They beat the crap out of MOVE members and imprisoned many. Their actions were and are not applicable since they overshot humanity for instead inhumanity. It was a very disgusting set of circumstances, yes, except to end human life without any other regard was sicker. Don't get me wrong. I'm not rooting for MOVE here. I think they had it coming unfortunately.

Now MOVE in general may sound like a good "organization" since violence isn't exactly their motto, but it's far from it.

Now you're probably wondering, WHAT IS MOVE? Well, it's a black group of people who all have the same last name (Africa) and live by nature. They object to Technology even though they drive cars and use telephones. A contradiction if there ever was one. It was founded in 1972 by John Africa. Also known as such for creating a set of guidelines which are known as the MOVE's bible. He's like a black Jesus except in this documentary he's slightly glossed over. I would have liked to have known more about John Africa, but I guess this is more about the tragedy instead. Oh well.

Even though MOVE is mainly peaceful, there lifestyle is anything from it. They live like animals and denigrate entirely from anything the outside world does. It's kind of like what a teenager does when they want to defy society. They rebel against it. That sort of sums up their cause. Like I mentioned, contradicting attitudes within their own "organization" is also equal to the state of their very own religion.

Their biggest flaw was to incorporate their own religion, but what the problem is if a religion is the basis for all life than why put yourself in one that restricts it. Religion usually restricts life because you're forcing yourself into a corner with rules and regulations or commandments. I have nothing against religion and do believe in God to a certain extent, but I am open enough to the wait and see attitude of when we die. We can never really be sure until we reach that point of no return. MOVE, however, wanted just one thing and that was THERE thing. Since they figured that Christians, Catholics and other religions get to have theirs, why shouldn't they?

This documentary brings up a LOT of moral questions and will challenge you on what is right and what is wrong. Frankly, I believe what the extremes the Philly mayor at the time did and the police were wrong. I also believe that what MOVE was doing was wrong as well. They were shit disturbers who populated a nice, predominately black neighborhood by creating noise and chaos. Even the newly appointed (and first) black mayor of Philly would prove to be annoyed by MOVE and would contribute more to what the previous white mayor did before him when containing the issue of this "organization". What would happen would be an excessive excuse of power over a group.

Was MOVE a terrorist threat? No. Were they stupid? Yes. Were the Philly police wrong? Yes & NO. When a group defies THE system they best be prepared for either death or prison. MOVE didn't do anything but cost people their homes and put people out on the streets. They provided absolutely no progress for their children, but instead wanted to go back to the old ways. Amish people they were not, but they certainly tried!

This documentary is edited together from news reports and court hearings along with other documented stuff that revolved around the MOVE "organization". It was a powerful and well-made documentary that showed a moment in history that was so stupid.
½ April 14, 2014
Documentaries constructed around old footage are rarely my favorite find of documentary films (How to Survive a Plague excluded), but this an interesting yet unjust story made all the more depressing after doing a little research on the fate of one of the central characters.
April 8, 2014
I have been waiting to see this film for a few months, and it was well worth the wait. It's a must-see for Documentary lovers and currently on Netflix. An easy five stars.
April 1, 2014
The best movie of 2013.
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