A quintessential work of muckraking journalism outfitted as a mainstream talking-head documentary, Outrage doesn’t lack for nerve. While most of the film’s claims were first reported elsewhere, director Kirby Dick effectively consolidates and champions the grassroots reportage that mainline media habitually ignore, and thus, through the modest power of film distribution, makes further ignorance impossible. Information long relegated to the blogosphere or alternative presses, once deemed irrelevant, indecent, or not newsworthy will suddenly appear, of all places, in a movie review. Covering Outrage, whether for the New York Times, Washington Post, or an otherwise timid local outlet, will mean divulging its revelations. Kirby Dick’s new film alleges that Florida Governor Charlie Crist is a closeted homosexual will be written, from a hands-clean remove, and presto—it’s news, finally. Dick’s dirty work may unsettle some, but he’s digging for truth, and truth is always worth the mess.
Speculative, a bit short on psychology, and somewhat tenuous in justification, Outrage nevertheless manages to be an effective and essential work of advocacy, honest about its limitations but propelled by conviction and righteous anger. Too many liberal issue docs neuter themselves by either taking a hysterical, the sky-is-falling stance or by chummily preaching to the choir, and though Outrage gives in to these tendencies it triumphs by making a strong argument and gathering evidence to support it. Outrage has an agenda, as well it should. Without it the film would be nothing but gossip, a salacious peek into the private lives of public figures. Furthermore, Outrage’s agenda sells rather than corrupts the film’s truths. Not outing people for the hell of it, Dick is naming those politicians whose damaging, disenfranchising hypocrisy begs for an act of reckoning. These are officials who vote, time and again, against equal rights for homosexuals.
Click here to read all of Eric Hynes’s review of Outrage.