Skip to main content

THE SKYJACKER'S TALE - Review

Directed by: Jamie Kastner
Starring: Ishmael Muslim Ali (formerly LaBeet), Margaret Ratner Kunstler, Michael Ratner

 Art imitates life and life imitates art.

These are the sayings that are hideously overused in our world but often earn their place in our vernacular. This justification is certainly evidenced in Jamie Kastner’s latest project, The Skyjacker's Tale. The Skyjacker's Tale tells the story of Ishmael Muslim Ali (formerly known as Ishmael LaBeet), a convicted mass murderer from the Virgin Islands who has been living in exile in Cuba since forcing his way to “freedom” through the hijacking of a commercial airliner. Yes, that sentence is a mouthful, as is this complex story. One would think that to tell this story properly, the filmmaker would have to create an 8-hour opus similar to 2016’s O.J.: Made in America but Kastner is judicious and concise while illuminating the numerous twists, turns, and gray areas that are littered throughout Ishmael Muslim Ali’s story.

 Kastner sets the tone early in the film through various talking heads telling us that Ishmael Muslim Ali is a hideous criminal and that he should be “rotting in hell.” What the audience does not realize is that those direct statements are the last time that the film will present a cut and dry opinion, as it gives way to the complexities of Ali’s innocence or lack thereof and the manner in which he found himself imprisoned and seeking freedom in the most audacious manner. Here is where Kastner takes into an all too familiar world of social injustices, racial and socioeconomic inequities, and the bastardization of our judicial system. By peeling back the layers of this story, Kastner drags the audience into a little-known story that serves as a solid entry into a long line of expose-style documentaries that have bigger things on its mind than simply giving us a entertaining escape from reality. Kastner uses this little-known story to fold the screen and take the audience into a very timely discussion that can be seen on our news feeds every day.

The Skyjacker’s Tale doesn’t offer a great deal of cinematic bells and whistles (we get the usual talking heads and reenactments), but what it does provide is a well-shot and well-told story that resonates today as it would have forty years ago. At 76 minutes, this film feels like a dense and flavorful reduction that is as tasty as it is healthy.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

THE True Bromance Film Podcast - Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Episode 208 - Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

We like to keep up with the latest and greatest in the film universe so for this episode we're dialing up Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. In a world where superhero films saturate the market, can an animated feature distinguish itself from the pack?

MOVIES DISCUSSED THIS WEEK:

A Fistful of Dollars, The Favourite, Skyscraper, The Meg, RBG, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Searching, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse


NO ALTERNATIVE review

Depression is often marked by sadness, despair, and hopelessness. The sense that things will not get better is something most of us pass through at different points in our lives. But depression is something more than that. It’s not just a temporary feeling, it’s a debilitating emotional state that you can’t simply pull yourself out of. The angry outbursts, irritability, and frustration that come along with depression can isolate individuals suffering from this condition and push them deeper into their own thoughts. Everyone needs to be heard and sometimes those who can’t express themselves in traditional forms find their voice in art.
Edvard Munch wrestled with agoraphobia and frequently had hallucinations, one of which inspired THE SCREAM, a painting so iconic that even the most casual art enthusiast is familiar with the piece.  Sylvia Plath took a more direct approach with THE BELL JAR and laid out the details of her depression with brutal honesty. Briana Dickerson a white suburba…

Film Threat Presents launches at Comic Con with The Theta Girl

33 years after its premiere as the rogue, iconoclastic fanzine championing indie film, Film Threat is back. First as a website, FilmThreat.com, relaunched last year, and now as a distribution label, catering to the same demographic that loved the disruptive magazine so much during its print run between 1985 and 1997.

The first release, scheduled for September 18th, is the micro-budget indie horror film THE THETA GIRL.

THE THETA GIRL, a feature film produced by first-time filmmakers David Axe and Christopher Bickel, has been currently ravaging the film festival circuit and building a dedicated fanbase.

"I'm proud to screen for you the trailer for THE THETA GIRL, a film that warped my mind," said Film Threat's Chris Gore at his FUTURE INDIES YOU MUST SEE panel at San Diego Comic-Con. He went on, "This is the first film that we are releasing under our new 'Film Threat Presents' label. I think you can tell from this teaser, it's the type of film you wo…