Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Review: Rat Film

Rat Film is a documentary about rats and the people involved with them in the City of Baltimore, Maryland. Maybe? It's probably best to refer to the film's official synopsis:

Across walls, fences, and alleys, rats not only expose our boundaries of separation but make homes in them. "Rat Film" is a feature-length documentary that uses the rat—as well as the humans that love them, live with them, and kill them--to explore the history of Baltimore. "There's never been a rat problem in Baltimore, it's always been a people problem".
There were many times throughout the film when I wondered just what was going on, as it also touches on a weird 3D game/map, systemic racism and segregation ("Isn’t it nice to think that when it rains, the whole city gets wet?”), and different elements of crime scene investigations. But it’s somehow all this and more and still compelling, gross (I felt physically ill at one point - the highest praise you can give to art?), surreal, insightful, existential, and weird. It’s like filmmaker Theo Anthony set out to make a documentary about rats and ended up deftly covering a lot more. The film doesn't suffer because of this. If anything, the film's disjointed plot is a big appeal.


The most interesting part of Rat Film for me was seeing different rat catchers (and lovers) from different walks of life and how they relate with the rodents. One character - a rat specialist with the City of Baltimore - was particularly insightful, pondering for the film about life, God, and the afterlife. And rats, of course.

4 Out Of 5 Stars

Rat Film is playing at Sun-Ray Cinema as part of their Sleeping Giant Fest. The documentary screens on Friday, March 31 at 5:00 p.m. and on Sunday, April 2 at 5:25 p.m.

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