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Movie Review: William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe

Alternate Title: David v. Goliath

Story: Hero, menace and revolutionary are just three of the terms that directors and writers Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler, say of their father, the infamous lawyer, William Kunstler.

Watching this un rose-colored documentary about their father allowed most of my own youth to flash through my mind. Name the big issues of the day and William Kunstler was front and center, fighting the good fight, battling the Government, standing for truth, justice and the right of everyone to have their day in court. He became radicalized in the 60's while fighting for Civil Rights in the South as a lawyer for the ACLU.

He became a national celebrity during the antics of the Chicago 8 trial after the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. He defended the Catonsville Nine, Roman Catholic activists and Vietnam protesters. He then made more history with his defense of American Indians vs the US Government at the trial of Wounded Knee, SD. He was also there for the disgrace that occurred at Attica Prison.

He was lionized for his work by liberals and libertarians across the board. It all changed when he began defending, what many believed were the indefensible such as Larry Davis, a Bronx drug dealer who was accused of shooting six NY policemen. He also defended Egyptian born terrorist El Sayyid Nosair, accused of killing Rabbi Meir Kahane and more.

I have always supported the ACLU and the right that everyone deserves as good a defense as possible even when the crimes are heinous. Our Constitution is not a sometimes thing and Willam Kunstler personified that belief.

Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItuWBep2s7c

Acting: This is not a category in a documentary. The many talking heads include: William Kunstler, Herman Badillo, Dennis Banks, Harry Belafonte, Clyde Bellecourt, Father Daniel Berrigan, Phil Donahue, Jimmy Breslin, Alan Dershowitz and Elizabeth Fink.

Trivia: The Kunstler Sisters won the Charles E. Guggenheim Emerging Artist Award - Honorable Mention in 2009 for this film and Nominated for Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. The sisters founded Off Center Media in 2000, and have produced, directed, and edited a number of short documentaries, including Tulia, Texas: Scenes from the Drug War (2002), which won Best Documentary Short at the Woodstock Film Festival, and was instrumental in winning exoneration for 46 wrongfully convicted people; and Getting Through to the President (2004), which has aired on the Sundance Channel.

Predilection: I like documentaries and a big fan of William Kunstler.

Critters: In May of 1989 Kunstler represented Tyrone the Cat for 'crimes against humanity' in a televised mock trial on Fox TV's The Reporters.

Opening Titles: I missed the first five minutes of this film because they sent me to the wrong theater. Grr.

Theater Audience: About 20 other card carrying members of the ACLU.

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: Reliving some of the bad times was squirmy.

Drift Factor: I was riveted.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: Probably not

Big Screen or Rental: I always recommend the big screen whenever possible but this would be fine as a rental.

Length: 90 minutes