The Sixth (2024)

The Sixth Review

The Sixth (2024)


The Sixth brings you back to that fateful January 6th, inside the USA Capitol attack with six different stories and unrevealed videos. Congressman Jamie Raskin, Chief of DC Metropolitan Police Robert J. Contee III, officer Daniel Hodges, officer Christina Laury, photographer Mel D. Cole, and congressional staffer Erica Loewe are all featured in this movie. Their individual experiences knit together a narrative about love service race and truth on such a crucial day as this one. Democracy rests in everyone’s hands – it is both terrifying and hopeful.

Film critique

“Sometimes the fact can be like another try,” says Congressman Jamie Raskin at The 6th a thoughtful, perhaps underwhelmed considering documentary about what took place on January 6th 2021 when rioters invaded United States’ Congress building..

But while surrounding footage of an interview with Raskin might be chilling he appears rather tranquil here; dimly half-lighted in front of his viewer absentmindedly sharing thoughts regarding those moments spent hiding away from mobs inside office buildings fearing for his own safety but even more so concerned about where exactly was daughter Tabitha hiding down there some place too?

Nearly four years have come and gone since then so it’s no wonder these haunted eyes seem tired beyond their age because during hours-long siege terrified lawmakers representing every political party along with staff members families friends anyone else unlucky enough to find themselves there never knew how things would pan out: would they survive or not?

Everybody knows what happened on January sixth; or least that’s what we think we know thanks largely due those fifteen-second clips which burned themselves into our brains forevermore.

All such moments can be found within this gruelling account assembled by Oscar-winning filmmakers Sean Fine & Andrea Nix: protesters scurrying up marble walls like spiders; battering ram smashing through entrance tunnel full force against doors until giving way; DC Metro cop getting trapped in doorframe whilst being squeezed lifeless by surging crowd outside; flag-waving demonstrators pouring into halls as if on tour some bemused others baying for blood.

And we’ve indeed heard from defenders and hiders many times before but usually when they’re being interviewed TV hosts eager get juicer details out them quick then cut commercial break, rarely are these people invited look straight into camera lens take deep breath and start telling their story from very beginning which is what The Sixths allow us to witness.

This is why I can’t help feeling like Fine’s most compassionate work yet: not only does he use original footage recreate bedlam during those hours spent locked away from rest humanity behind fortified doors but also provides step-by-step instructions showing where exactly each shot was taken inside or around Capitol building itself using animated diagrams never seen anywhere else ever before now..

But first, there’s the uncannily calm footage of happy protesters walking down toward the Ellipse behind the White House in the pre-dawn. The aerial shots show the sheer mass of humanity that stretches all the way to the Washington Monument tens of thousands were expected to come, but 120,000 showed up. Even as politicians give their speeches from a podium on the Ellipse, another group of protestors begins to march from behind them this one smaller and dressed in riot gear and military garb that looks like it came from a Call of Duty game. The video of their march fairly smokes with fury.

Alongside Raskin, we meet a few narrators: Mel D. Cole, a celebrated photographer who found himself swept up with no choice but to keep snapping pictures and shooting video as he was carried by the tide of protesters toward Capitol Hill; Christina Laury, an officer with Metropolitan Police Department who took a face full of bear spray while trying to move some demonstrators off her line outside the Capitol; Daniel Hodges, officer crushed in that doorway; Erica Loewe, communications director for Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), who watched as lines she didn’t know existed between police and protesters broke outside her window.

It’s easy to identify with that second set fear and anger are two things you always remember well what “The Sixth” doesn’t do is offer any deep understanding about what was going on inside those minds bashing through gates. There are glimpses of humanity in that swarm, thanks largely to Cole’s remarkable photos: He captures people in MAGA hats tending to fellow Trump supporters who’d been trampled or maced or otherwise injured during their rampage through D.C.; there’s also a tear-streaked shot where one protestor pleads with his comrades at arms to stop destroying everything around them.

“We’re better than this!” he screams.

And there is one interview outside the Capitol that’s short but compelling: Cole turns his video camera on a young woman in a ball cap and a blue bandanna.

“I’m prepared to die,” she says, smiling. “Yes, I’m prepared to die for my country and my children and my grandchildren.”

(The woman looks an awful lot like Ashli Babbitt, the protester who was shot dead inside the Capitol while trying to climb through a broken window into the Speaker’s Lobby — call her a patriot or call her a deluded pawn; either way, nothing is going to stop her.)

But other than that other than faces twisted with hatred; bodies lunging in violence; formations pushing forward with awful precision we don’t see much of the attackers at all. The filmmakers could’ve spared us 60 seconds from another minute or two in their 93-minute film for this fact: security cameras showed some protesters were allowed free entry into the Capitol through side doors. Why? Were those officers just overwhelmed? Were they angry because they’d been placed on the front line without any protective gear? Or were some of them, as some protesters claimed, complicit? The good guys-vs.-bad guys narrative that played out everywhere else that day is low-hanging fruit; “The Sixth” should’ve dug into something more complicated.

I know why the narrators and film makers want to condemn the January 6th rioters who hurt more than 100 police officers severely. It doesn’t even matter that these villains of Marvel movies have backstories. I’m an American citizen, and I want to find out which truth they perceived so deeply that it became unbearable for them to stay calm within their country; thus leading thousands on a self-destructive path towards authority through military power which was never going to work anyway if they had taken five seconds to think about it.

It could’ve been one or two of those poor souls’ chance to look into a camera lens and start at the beginning.

Watch The Sixth For Free On Gomovies.

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