4 Little Girls

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

On September 15, 1963 a bomb would go off within a small church, killing four young women and changing the nation’s outlook on racism. Of course, the nation was in the midst of a heated racial debate before, but when that bomb exploded inside the 16th Street Church in Alabama, things would reach a fevered pitch. Some would see the attack as pure evil and work to demand some sort of an end to the madness, while others would be more sadden than can be imagined. So with a nation pushed to the brink, this event drove the people over the edge and started them down the road to change. In this documentary film, we’re shown all sorts of information on the event and those young girls, who died because of racial hatred. In addition to photos and archival footage from the time of the attack, we’re also shown interviews with their families, prominent people from the time, and even some civil rights leaders. An interview is even offered with former Alabama governor George Wallace, which made a very special inclusion, I think.

I think this is an interesting story and one that has historical significance, but I just don’t feel it made for a worthwhile picture. Of course, this is a documentary and as such, entertainment is not the highest priority, but I found this to be very dull most of the time. As directed by Spike Lee (Clockers, Summer of Sam), this places too much of a “martyr” status on these girls, which I feel is inappropriate. I do think this was a tragic and important event, but I don’t think it had quite the impact this film proclaims. It is humorous to see Jesse Jackson here, as he babbles on about things, but aside from his incoherent ramblings, there wasn’t much here I was impressed with. Lee keeps his hands off the film most of the time, which is good, but I think some changes needed to be made, as this just drags most of the time. But if you’re really interested in this story and want to know more, then by all means, this is a rich resource of knowledge. In the end, this is an average documentary which I feel pads the lasting impact of a tragic event. I recommend this as a rental to those interested, but the disc is solid, so if you want to purchase it, then it is worth the cash.

Video: How does it look?

4 Little Girls is presented in a full frame transfer, which preserves the film’s intended aspect ratio. This looks pretty good, given the documentary nature of the film and varied sources used here. Of course, the archive footage looks rougher than the rest, but on the whole, this is a fine visual presentation. I saw some grain on the print at times, but with a lower budget effort like this one, you have to expect that to some degree. The interview clips look solid here, colors are natural and contrast is stable, no real complaints. Like I said, this is a documentary and as such, the image is not pristine, but this looks as good as you could want.

Audio: How does it sound?

Again, this is a documentary and it sounds good, but don’t expect more than an average presentation. This film is driven by vocals, but the musical soundtrack is also worth a mention. In this mix, it comes off very well, but since this is not a full surround track, it lacks the power it deserves. The dialogue is the focus though and it sounds great here, very clean & crisp at all times and with no volume problems to report. You won’t be amazed by this audio experience, but this track more than handles the material, which is what counts. This disc also includes subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes a talent file on Spike Lee, some weblinks, and an epilogue, as well as a behind the scenes featurette. This featurette runs about half an hour and contains interviews with Lee, as well as others who helped make this piece possible. If you’re interested in how and why this documentary was made, then this is a feature you won’t want to miss.

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