Slay the Dragon
Documentary | English | 101 minutes
This is a documentary about gerrymandering, which is the practice of redrawing a state’s electoral map to favor the party in power. Although some form of gerrymandering has been around for centuries, in today’s hyper partisan political environment it has been taken to unprecedented extremes. To add fuel to the fire, the Supreme Court ruled that gerrymandering is something for the states to fix, if they are so inclined. But with gerrymandering being seen as the “dragon,” a “slayer” emerged. Katie Fahey, a recent college graduate, furiously attacked what she considered a flagrant threat to democracy. Her only weapons were social media and determination. Her goal was to set up transparent and independent methods for drawing district boundaries. Fahey’s grassroots campaign successfully got 350,000 signatures followed by a brutal court battle. As film critic Ben Kenigsberg wrote in The New York Times, “SLAY the DRAGON dissects the extreme nature of partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin. Graphics show how sophisticated, data-driven mapmaking guaranteed that, even in the event of a Democratic landslide, Republicans would maintain power in the State Assembly and its policy consequences.”
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 100%
- Metacritic Score: 73
- Philadelphia Film Festival: Nominated, Best Documentary Feature
- Traverse City Film Festival: Best U.S. Nonfiction Film
- The documentary received a perfect 100% Rotten Tomatoes score
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Goodman and Durrance have made a dense, numbers-driven subject very accessible and they expertly balance an overwhelming bleakness and cynicism of the voter suppression effort with the integrity of those who are fighting it.
There is no issue more threatening to the future of American democracy than gerrymandering, and the incisive and stirring news documentary about it feels like a moral game-changer. It’s the most important political film of the year.
SLAY the DRAGON is not short on outrage. Just because some of the material is not new doesn’t mean it’s not worth repeating.
Gerrymandering is confusing. But this compelling, impassioned documentary does an effective job of explaining it, showing how it’s at odds with the very notion of democracy and getting viewers fired up to do something about it.
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