Film Review: Forest Freedom Fighter

IF A TREE FALLS (in theaters June 22, Oscilloscope Pictures)

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When does an environmental activist become a terrorist? That’s the burning question at the core of this riveting documentary about Daniel McGowan, an Earth Liberation Front member who is serving a seven-year federal sentence for his role in a series of arsons. Though none of the carefully plotted fires claimed lives—just lumber company buildings, SUVs, and other structures—McGowan was prosecuted under federal anti-terrorism laws. This balanced, humanizing film tracks his case and reveals him to be thoughtful and principled, regretful but not entirely repentant—especially on the subject of the T-word. “It’s property destruction,” he says. “Call it what it is.”

 

 

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