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Article

'1971': EW review

Posted on

Andreas Burgess

1971

type:
Movie
Current Status:
In Season
runtime:
79 minutes
release date:
02/06/15
Limited Release Date:
02/05/15
Wide Release Date:
02/05/15
performer:
Rich Graff, Lauren A. Kennedy, Dennis Brito
director:
Johanna Hamilton
genre:
Documentary

We gave it a B

On March 8, 1971, a group of antiwar radicals broke into an FBI office in Media, Pa., and stole thousands of pages of documents. What they found shocked even them: evidence of a top secret surveillance program called COINTELPRO, which showed that the agency was spying on Americans whose only crime was exercising their First Amendment rights. The whistle-blowers were never caught, but their revelations led to a congressional investigation that embarrassed J. Edgar Hoover, reined in his bureau, and paved the way for everything from Watergate to WikiLeaks. Now, in Johanna Hamilton’s fiery truth-to-power documentary, those gray-haired agitators finally step out of the shadows to explain what they did and why they did it (with the help of some slightly hokey dramatic reenactments). Their message—namely, Who will watch the watchmen?—remains as important today as it was 44 years ago. B