Claude Motley grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where most young men join a gang, drop out of school, and end up in an early grave. Motley, however, is determined to break that mold and move himself and his family out of the area, somewhere they’ll be safe. Motley was successful in relocating his family to a suburb of Charlotte, North Carolina, but on a trip back for a high school reunion, Claude Motley fell victim to the streets he tried so hard to escape. When fifteen-year-old Nathan King shot him in the face, the Motley family’s world was turned upside down. This is the story of When Claude Got Shot.
The first and possibly most crucial way viewers will appreciate Brad Lichtenstein’s documentary is by understanding that there are good people in this world, like Claude Motley and his family (as well as Victoria Davison, King’s second victim). These individuals struggled so much as a result of what that kid did. However, throughout the legal process, they still expressed how badly they wanted King to be successful after his punishment. Seeing each of these individuals wish the best for Nathan King is reassuring in terms of how I view the world. I can’t say that I’d feel the same way or be as forgiving, but knowing that people like this still exist in the world is heartwarming. Even through the dark, unappealing nature of the story, When Claude Got Shot is able to shed light on the good that remains in people, and that is not something that should be taken lightly.
“When fifteen-year-old Nathan King shot [Claude Motley] in the face, the Motley family’s world was turned upside down.”
As When Claude Got Shot progresses, it becomes clear that glaring issues lie within the justice system and not in the way viewers may have thought before watching this movie. In many ways, regardless of what individuals in the film might say, it is incredibly lenient in some situations. I don’t want to give too much away, as Motley and King’s journey is truly engrossing, and even the slightest hint at what might transpire will ruin that odyssey. However, as viewers notice serious discrepancies in stories throughout the documentary, they become frustrated and feel forced to beg for change.
There’s a lot to love about Claude Motley’s story as it is inspiring and resonates with audiences everywhere. Even in moments full of pure frustration, there is something to learn. Lichtenstein captures the true essence of Motley’s tragic journey and pulls viewers in, has them picking sides and riding out the story as if they were actually a part of what took place. When Claude Got Shot is revealing and an accurate representation of the world we live in. From nausea to jubilation, viewers run the gamut of emotion thanks to Lichtenstein’s wonderful coverage and genuine honesty.
"…inspiring and resonates with audiences."