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YOUR MOMMY KILLS ANIMALS! (2007)
Published by Film Fanaddict on 2008/7/30 (2427 reads)
Directed by Curt Johnson
Review by Aaron W. Graham
Released by Halo-8 Entertainment
Running Time: 106 minutes
Rating: Not Rated
Color format: Color
Audio/Subtitles: DD 2.0
Region Code: 1
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
16:9 Enhanced: No
Special Features: Coming Attractions
Trailer Online: Yes
A decidedly non-partisan and evenly handled take on Animal Rights Issues and the tireless crusaders who become actively involved in such causes, Curt Johnson’s YOUR MOMMY KILLS ANIMALS resolves to be a captivating study around an ethical arena that has only previously been covered – to the best of my knowledge - in an episode of the Penn & Teller Showtime series, “Bullshit” (covering much of the same ground in less than thirty minutes). Johnson’s film derives its name from a gory PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)-produced comic book aimed towards children, which can be glimpsed inside the doc whilst being juxtaposed with many a myopic celebrity gladly sticking their names next to the organization. Since PETA refused any participation in the making of this film, their standards, practices, and hypocrisies are only perfunctorily divulged, so Johnson’s film sets the stage for two other radically violent groups and members who have agreed to be profiled: the ALF (Animal Liberation Front) and SHAC (Stop Hungtingdon Animal Cruelty).
The latter group, set up in 1999 to combat Hungtingdon Life Sciences (known worldwide as the largest animal-testing company), reveals their sometimes-aggressive ideology mainly in the personalities of Josh Harper and Kevin Kjonaas, two long-time members then facing jail-time and several convictions due to their severe tactics of home demonstrations. Through following executives and workers of companies who do business with Huntingdown to their private places of residence, Harper and Kjonaas, along with five others, chose to humiliate and scold the employees by throwing their own morally compromised actions back into their faces. The SHAC7, as they’re forever referred to in the rest of the doc, firmly stand by what they’ve done, facing trial and martyring themselves in order to get their message across.
As one interviewee participant confesses, it’s young, idealistic adults such as Harper and Kjonaas that seem to become involved in such an enthusiastic, rah-rah and irresponsible mentality – so much so that the FBI has targeted such groups as the ALF and SHAC to be the number one form of domestic terrorists, with homeland security doing their best to keep the largely peaceful factions at bay. It’s a ludicrous sight to behold, government-sanctioned security vehicles escorting farmers to the slaughterhouse, but Johnson doesn’t paint a portrait to make the extremists appear completely innocent either. It’s the hot-headed few to take the suggestive statements of ALF and SHAC (the latter handing out matchbooks with the text “Light a Match” next to the address of animal-harming companies) that results in an exploitation and deliberate misreading of the good-natured bunch that serve only to help out our furry friends.
Extras are non-existent, save only for several other promos featuring Halo-8’s other “alternative” releases (including several unconventional Yoga instructional videos with punk-riffic girls).
Captivating and divisive, Johnson never kowtows or allows one side of the argument to be top-heavy over any other, even if there are very few people interviewed who disagree with ALF and SHAC’s controversial measures. Some lost opportunities (journalist Christopher Hitchens was clearly interviewed by the filmmakers, but only appears once), but Johnson’s concise, balanced treatise about the fanatical activists and those staunchly less so makes for an interesting post-film discussion.
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