Review: Greenwald takes on the NRA in documentary ‘Making a Killing’

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Political documentarian Robert Greenwald tackles the gun lobby with his latest film “Making a Killing: Guns, Greed and the NRA.” The audience for past Greenwald projects like “Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism” and “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price” will know what to expect here: a lot of persuasive personal stories and steely outrage, peppered liberally with statistics.

“Making a Killing” is roughly divided into five sections, each covering some aspect of how gun violence affects Americans’ lives every day: domestic disputes, accidental shootings, crime, suicide and mass murder. At the end of each section, Greenwald throws numbers onto the screen to suggest the depth of the problem, and the possible solutions that the NRA is resisting.

Documentaries like “Making a Killing” don’t really function as cinema, or even as journalism. They’re more like pamphlets or campaign ads — designed primarily to rile people up, not to dazzle them with aesthetics.


But as always with Greenwald, it’s refreshing that he doesn’t simply indulge in fear-mongering. He has the resources and the research team to sort through lots of data, culling the relevant points and encouraging action.

And while anecdotes aren’t the same as evidence, it’s hard not to be moved by the first-person accounts of ordinary people in “Making a Killing.” Even beyond the number-crunching, there’s value in the way that Greenwald gives the victims of tragedy a voice.


‘Making a Killing: Guns, Greed and the NRA’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 43 minutes

Playing: Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills