The parameters of homeland security are chillingly assessed in "Do Not Resist," a troubling documentary examining the escalating militarization of the nation's police forces.
Craig Atkinson's timely directorial debut opens on the streets of Ferguson, Mo., 10 days after the 2014 death of Michael Brown, where a SWAT team lobs tear gas at protesters failing to heed a midnight curfew.
But the lightning-laden storm clouds gathering overhead aren't limited to Ferguson, as the film proceeds to survey the rapidly increasing use by police forces across the country of military-grade equipment originally intended for dealing with post-9/11 terrorist threats.
Dispensing with a conventional narrator, Atkinson, himself the son of a retired SWAT officer, shrewdly lets his subjects do the talking.
They include former Army Col. Dave Grossman, billed as the world's leading combat authority, motivating police in Orlando, Fla., with the mantra, "You are men and women of violence. You must master it or it will destroy you!"
Assisting them have been $34 billion in grants from the Department of Homeland Security enabling community police forces to get their hands on 48,000-pound MRAP (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicles designed to withstand IED attacks in Fallujah, Iraq.
If seeing an MRAP roaring along a sleepy suburban U.S. street past a kiddie playset doesn't send up signal flares, then how about hearing an expert in predictive policing algorithms stating that the technology is in place to inform a pregnant woman that her unborn child will likely end up in jail?
"Do Not Resist" brings Steven Spielberg's "Minority Report" disturbingly close to home.
'Do Not Resist'
Running time: 1 hour, 12 minutes
Playing: Laemmle Monica Film Center, Santa Monica; Laemmle Playhouse 7, Pasadena