DVD Review: “The Hunting Ground” (2015)

The Hunting Ground (2015)

Genre: Documentary

Running Time: 103 minutes

Directed by: Kirby Dick

Director Kirby Dick (The Invisible War – an Oscar nominated documentary about rape in the US armed forces) confronts an issue that has been present on US University campuses for years and lifts the lid on how certain people in power treat survivors who have not had an international voice before.

This would be an easy film to review and to say something like “All women should see this film because…”, but that is simply not the case as in reality ALL women live with the fear of men, rape, domestic abuse and all other horrific things men do to women – especially in New Zealand.

What should happen is that all men should see this film and others like it, because these issues can effect their wives, girlfriends, sisters, daughters, cousins and friends in very different ways and this excellent documentary highlights at least one these in a very real visceral way.

In terms of this film though, it takes place across university campuses in the US and the audience is shown through interviews with the survivors of rape, their very personal stories, and how respective authorities dealt with their cases and the kinds of punishments that were given to the perpetrators and you guessed it – not a whole lot.

The beginning of the film opens with many girls receiving their acceptance letters to University and bring as excited about something that will change their lives forever – and of course it will but not in the way they might think. Kirby as director and producer has an in your face style and I think this actually works as we the audience have to be quick and once your attention has been grabbed it does not let up for a moment.

This film was Oscar-nominated but not for best documentary, it was nominated for best original song, “Til it happens to you” written by Diane Warren and sung by Lady Ga Ga. If you have not seen the performance at the Oscars form 2015 then you should look it up – as it illustrated in about 4 minutes what this documentary is about. By the way they did not win – it was won by one of the most misogynistic characters evert created – James Bond. What a wonderful world.

This is a must see and is out now on DVD.

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