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Better This World (2011)

David McKay , Bradley Crowder , Kelly Duane , Katie Galloway  |  NR |  DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Better This World + If A Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front
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Product Details

  • Actors: David McKay, Bradley Crowder
  • Directors: Kelly Duane, Katie Galloway
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Passion River
  • DVD Release Date: July 24, 2012
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00827OWWU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #279,702 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

How did two boyhood friends from Midland, Texas wind up arrested on terrorism charges at the 2008 Republican National Convention? Better This World follows the journey of David McKay (22) and Bradley Crowder (23) from political neophytes to accused domestic terrorists with a particular focus on the relationship they develop with a radical activist mentor in the six months leading up to their arrests. A dramatic story of idealism, loyalty, crime and betrayal, Better This World goes to the heart of War on Terror and its impact on vicil liberties and political dissent in post-9/11 America.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and disturbing October 3, 2012
First, the full movie is available for free online. Just google it. It's on the PBS website.

Second, if you appreciated this movie, you would almost certainly appreciate another one in the POV series about "domestic terrorists" (the Earth Liberation Front) called If A Tree Falls.


This is one of the most disturbing movies I've seen. Instead of feeling safer against the threats of "terrorism," I feel paranoid that I could get entrapped in an arbitrary and brutal justice system that views human beings as "terrorists."

The filmmakers probably wouldn't agree with me, but this movie is fundamentally about deception. Deception from the FBI, from lawyers, from news sources, and, most importantly, from ourselves. If you do not feel extremely vulnerable after watching this movie -- vulnerable to what could happen when your most fundamental beliefs and values are mixed with an influence like Brandon Darby -- then you are very likely deceiving yourself about the unwavering power of your own moral compass.

If you need more convincing, see The Thin Blue Line and Standard Operating Procedure -- two of the best documentaries I've seen.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Feel safer? July 20, 2012
Imagine you're driving, heeding the the speed limit, when a car starts tailgating and in nervous reaction you exceed that limit by one mile per hour. Next thing you know, that tailgater turns out to be an officer of the law in an unmarked police car and you get a speeding ticket.

Sure, you violated the letter of the law, but you did not violate the spirit of the law. The cop who gave you that ticket could have caught speeders by waiting at the roadside. However, doling out the speeding ticket, not protecting the public from those who drive too fast with disregard for others' safety, was all that mattered.

View the documentary BETTER THIS WORLD and tell me if the F.B.I. is any different than the police officer in my scenario. Two citizens who wish to demonstrate at the 2008 Republican presidential convention think they are learning about activism from one Brandon Darby, who presents himself as an experienced protestor. As it turns out, Darby is a stooge for the F.B.I., which, rather than do the legwork of tracking down existing crime, eavesdrops as Darby coaxes those two men, who would have been content to walk down the street holding a sign, to think about using violence. With disregard for the spirit of the law, charges of possessing Molotov cocktails the two individuals face respect only the letter of the law.

Feel safer?

What did the F.B.I. do to prevent today's midnight movie massacre in Aurora, Colorado?

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
One of the most impressive aspects of Better This World is that it almost lacks any intentional political or social bias. It is not about peaceful/violent protest, national security, terrorism, partisan politics, as it is about the fate of two unfortunate youths. These two students thought of doing something dangerous, and possibly were ready to accomplish it. That seems clear. However, all their supposedly wicked thoughts could be influenced or rather enforced by a third source that is supposed to be doing some good by figuring out these men's original intents on the eve of the 2008 Republican National Convention.

The directors deserve acclaim for the way they deal with this case. They could have very easily avoided or limited the government or FBI's point of view in this case and simply advocated the innocence of the two men from Midland, TX. They rather show the opposite, and maybe the least attractive, point of view and let the audience make their minds on the validity of their statements.

The most poignant part of the film is near the ending when it becomes obvious that one cannot win against the Federal government, and that even a symbolic victory could have serious consequences. This symbolic victory could condemn these men to a cell for possibly decades. The main reason this case or film may infuriate people as that when we see these gentlemen in their small city with their family, we realize these are no home-grown terrorists. Maybe dumb for the ultimate decisions they made, unfortunate for the manipulation they came under, and possibly too easily deceived. It should enrage us because of the extent of the government's desires to create utter monsters out of these kids and their adamancy for them to betray each other in hope of sentencing them to the heftiest sentence possible.
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