3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets

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3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets is a documentary about the 2012 murder of Jordan Davis and the subsequent trial of his killer, Michael Dunn. Dunn shot and killed Davis after the latter refused to turn down his car radio in a gas station parking lot. Dunn also shot at the other three people who were in the car with Davis.

This film largely consists of interviews with Davis’s parents and with his friends, as well as scenes from Dunn’s trial. Davis is portrayed as a good kid, who was well liked by his friends, even though he wasn’t very good at playing basketball. It’s the trial scenes, however, that are the most interesting. Dunn’s lawyer does a good job of cross-examining the prosecution’s witnesses, but he makes a crucial mistake when he puts Dunn on the witness stand. (Perhaps he felt he had to call Dunn because there were few witnesses, and because Davis’s friends seemed credible on the stand.) The prosecution catches Dunn in a lie, which undermines his claim that Davis had a gun. In spite of this, the jury dead-locked on the question of whether Dunn committed first degree murder. They did find him guilty of three counts of second degree murder, for shooting at Davis’s friends as they were trying to get away from him.

Dunn’s lawyer tells the jury that the trial is not about race. There is no evidence that Dunn used racial epithets at the time of the shooting. Yet one can’t help but wonder if he would have shot at three white boys playing loud music. I would have liked to learn more about Dunn: his background, his political beliefs, etc. At the end of the film, he shows no remorse for what he did, and he even claims to be the “real victim” in this case. Dunn kept a loaded gun in his car, and I suspect that he was secretly wishing that he would one day have an excuse to use it. He was an accident waiting to happen.

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