Flag Wars

"Good"

Flag Wars Review


"Urban gentrification" is often bandied about like it's nothing but a bad thing. But while low-income residents of the less upscale parts of town tend to get evicted and run out, the community as a whole does indeed improve. Crack houses are torn down. Graffiti is painted over. Neighborhoods are cleaned up. Gangs move to less troublesome territories. But some long-time residents don't exactly get the royal treatment along the way.

Flag Wars (an awful title, I'm afraid) is a sober documentary about gentrification in one Columbus, Ohio neighborhood, Olde Towne East. Specifically, a run-down, project-infested part of town populated largely by blacks (many in poor health) find their neighborhood being adopted by affluent, white gays, who start renovating the gothic old mansions and putting up rainbow flags. Needless to say, these two groups are a bit at odds with each other.

At ground zero of this argument is the Columbus zoning and building commission. The trouble apparently starts when one gay realtor complains to the commission about the many decrepit homes in the hood: She wants them to be improved or sold; either way is a win for her business and her property values. One black man, a Yoruba priest, hangs a sign on the front of his house and sells art inside. The city wants the sign removed. He refuses.

Other cases are far more contentious, namely the sad affair of Linda Mitchell, an alcoholic on disability whose home is crumbling around her. She has no money to fix it, but the city demands she do so, constantly hauling her before a judge and extracting promise after promise that she'll do what they say. She never does. The cycle continues.

And this is Flag Wars' biggest problem: It goes round and round and never settles anything. Though it was filmed over four years, the end offers no resolution at all. It simply stops, as if the filmmakers ran out of tape. In attempting to cast the story as one of class warfare, you can't help but feel the narrative is a little forced. Aside from one meeting where muggings and burglaries are discussed, you really don't get the feeling that these two groups can't coexist. In direct interviews, the blacks seem to care little about the gay whites and vice versa. They both just want to be left alone... maybe by the filmmakers more than anyone else.



Flag Wars

Facts and Figures

Run time: 86 mins

In Theaters: Monday 10th March 2003

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 67%
Fresh: 4 Rotten: 2

IMDB: 6.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Linda Goode Bryant, Laura Poitras

Producer: Linda Goode Bryant, Laura Poitras

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

Advertisement
A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.