On the surface, “Boom: The Sound of Eviction” appears to be a heartwarming story about a community that rises up to fight the corporate machine – and wins! However, digging deeper in the “documentary,” you find a falseness that is hard to swallow.
“Boom” follows the citizens of San Francisco, and in particular the residents of the Mission District who are forced out of their homes by the burgeoning economy, driven by the financial explosion brought on by the new Internet companies. “Boom” shows the activists rally against the government and businesses in the area to win their homes back. After an upset in the city government and the election of parties sympathetic to the protesters, the residents are returned home victorious.
What is insidiously glossed over is a full exploration of the collapse of the dot coms, which led to the retreat of these start-ups. Could it be that this basic market correction is what coincidentally caused the protestors to win their case rather than their efforts?
The fact is that the dot coms went bust on their own, regardless of the actions of the protestors in the Bay Area. However, reality is twisted by “Boom” to imply that the protestors won a hard and ardent to have beat up the bully who was supposed to pummel him after school when the bully never showed up because he was hit by a bus.
Competently put together with what has to be hundreds of hours of footage and including some beautifully shot interviews and segments, “Boom: The Sound of Eviction” keeps the visuals moving.
Where the film falters is in it’s false documentary style. Be there no doubt: There is a bias behind this documentary!
“Boom: The Sound of Eviction” is nothing short of propaganda, and no amount of competent filmmaking will change that. There is alarmingly few moments in the film where the opposition is given a chance to speak. When those fleeting moments do happen, it is from hidden cameras on San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown.
It is the bias and propaganda behind “Boom” that makes it the clearest example of dangerous filmmaking. Both sides of the issue are not explored. Other points of view are suppressed. Whether their message is right or wrong, it is irresponsible to make such a one-sided film and claim it to be a documentary. Such biased filmmaking doesn’t help the cause either, because there is nothing in the film to convince me that this is anything more than a 96-minute political commercial.
“Boom: The Sound of Eviction” attempts to be the “Roger and Me” for a new decade, but it falls short. Forget the fact that Moore took liberty with the voice-over and chronology. “Roger and Me” succeeded because Moore spent an entire film tracking down the opposition in order to get something – anything – on film. In fact, the sight of Roger Smith fleeing Michael Moore and his camera crew made a stronger statement than anything else in the film. There is none of this honesty in “Boom,” and instead it needlessly vilifies the opposition without giving them an opportunity to rebut.