Battle for Brooklyn is one of the most important documentaries to be released this year. The film follows the battle of one Brooklyn neighborhood in its fight against a group wanting to build a new arena for the now Brooklyn Nets on top of their homes. It originally debuted at the Brooklyn International Film Festival on June 3rd, 2011. It then went into a limited theatrical release on June 17th, 2011. But it wasn’t until January 15th of this year that the movie was finally released to DVD. And now that it’s available for the masses on DVD, audiences can and should pick up a copy of this gripping documentary.
Battle for Brooklyn was filmed by activist Daniel Goldstein, who takes audiences through his personal battle against Forest City Ratner in an attempt to keep his home and those of everyone in his neighborhood from being taken. The six year-long battle is expertly documented over the course of the documentary’s ninety-three minutes. In that hour and a half plus run time, Goldstein effortlessly manages to keep viewers engaged through the timeline of the events that unfolds. At the center of Battle for Brooklyn is the controversial issue of eminent domain, which is essentially the same thing as its predecessor, manifest destiny. Audiences are taken through the battle of one Brooklyn neighborhood against development firm, Forest City Ratner. The battle happens as Ratner has its sights aimed squarely at the community in question as the sight of the new home of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets. Some have called this presentation rather one sided. But in watching it, audiences will see that that couldn’t be farther from the truth as employees of Forest City Ratner are interviewed just as much as those living in the endangered neighborhood. And while Goldstein and those at his side make a number of very arguments against Forest City Ratner, the firm’s Executive VP makes at least one solid argument regarding economic progress. This argument is sure to be a point of contention that will bring about discussion among audiences; some of which may get heated.
The subject matter of this documentary is much like that of the hit movie, Barbershop 2 as it too focuses on a similar issue. One of the most powerful moments that viewers are presented with in Battle for Brooklyn comes when viewers discover that those who originally stood by Goldstein had either taken buyouts and their associated gag orders, or simply started taking the side of Forest City Ratner. Just as powerful is the revelation of some very interesting tax documents filed by a group known as B.U.I.L.D. The documents in question seem to hint that despite what one member of B.U.I.L.D. claimed, the forms show that a rather large amount of money was given to B.U.I.L.D. by Forest City Ratner. It’s just one of many revelations that show the power of business and political interests.
Goldstein has crafted in this feature, a story that’s just as gripping as any major legal thriller out there today as is already evidenced here. The difference is that unlike those legal thrillers, this story is real life. It shows a topic that while it has been used for movies and TV shows alike, it’s just as serious as those stories if not more so. It shows an unbiased look at the effect of corporate might on entire communities. The neighborhood placed in danger here is just one example of something that happens throughout the country. It adds an extra example in the bonus feature, “More To Talk About” The Tragedy Of Urban Renewal. Audiences learn that the history of eminent domain goes as far back as the 1950’s and the Truman presidency. Even as a mini-history lesson, it is an eye opener that puts the main story into even more focus. Together, the pair makes for a documentary that is just as good as any legal thriller penned for the big screen. It can be ordered direct now via the Virgil Films online store at http://www.virgilfilmsent.com/store/product.php?pid=604.
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