23 Mile Image

23 Mile

By Bobby LePire | May 14, 2024

23 Mile is a documentary directed by Mitch McCabe that captures an unprecedented and tumultuous time. The place: Michigan. The year: 2020. Yeah, anyone who was closely following the news then already has an inkling of what’s in store. That hypothetical person would be correct… to a certain extent, at least.

McCabe attends rallies and protests being held by liberals and conservatives alike. He interviews people in militias, BLM activists, Trump supporters, Biden supporters, and those in between. While the militia are dressed precisely as expected, what’s unexpected is the speech from the person they are protecting. The pro-2nd Amendment African-American addresses all in attendance as “man, woman, or however they chose to identify.” A man decked his house out in Biden/Harris regalia. He lives in the middle of hardcore Trumper territory, so his neighbors literally boo and jeer at him.

Admittedly, some people are just as portrayed by the mainstream media. A 3%-er offers no evidence for questioning the vaccine. Interestingly, as the election looms closer, this person becomes less and less chatty. His first interview offers a veritable open book on his beliefs. But when the November election is days away, he clams up, offering bare-bone responses that hardly scratch the issues at hand. A woman blasts Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” and prays for a right-wing nation. She’s genuinely scary, claiming to want to have true discourse but never ceding ground to even listen to anyone else’s point of view.

The place: Michigan. The year: 2020.”

Of course, even though Biden won the election, MAGA-ites were filled with the idea that if Trump lost, it must be fraud, so the story does not end after Biden has been called for Michigan. In some truly horrifying ways, the story is still not over years later. The scars of a wannabe dictator too stupid for his own good may have severed the United States of America for good. This snapshot of the wounds being created gives 23 Mile its gravitas.

McCabe’s watchful observations add a sense of community. He does not judge anyone he crosses paths with and lets them speak for themselves. In doing so, the filmmaker has found the only way for either side to even begin to understand one another. Though from a technical standpoint, the documentary is okay. The cinematography is often stunning, capturing masses roaming the streets in incredible ways. But the edits from one protest to a rally to an interview can be jarring. For the major moments, such as the discovery of the plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, the narrative flows more naturally without the odd beats that some of the other transitions have.

23 Mile is an important exposé that shows just how far political divisions have gone. McCabe offers an olive branch to anyone, no matter their affiliation, should they choose to take it. Politics are tricky to navigate, more so now than ever. But this offers a blueprint to help bridge that divide.

For more information, visit the official 23 Mile site.

23 Mile (2024)

Directed: Mitch McCabe


Starring: Mitch McCabe, etc.

Movie score: 9/10

23 Mile Image


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