Loathed beliefs made bearable in ‘The Other Side’

Loathed beliefs made bearable in The Other Side

Ronel Ghidey

Any movie that starts with a man standing stark-naked on the side of the road already lets the audience know the next 80-something minutes are going to be filled with a crazy plot line. “The Other Side” proves exactly that. Directed by filmmaker Roberto Minervini, we are told that the naked man from before is a crackhead dope seller named Mark who lives in the backwoods of Louisiana.
Mark, a small time drug dealer and user, does an assortment of jobs to help support his drug use and his girlfriend, Lisa, with whom the audience is able to get up close and personal. Besides Mark, his girlfriend and his family, Minervini also shows another Louisiana community, one with more money with which they use on guns and beer to support their growing militia, which claims Obama will declare martial law as they talk politics and spout false facts.
This film focuses on the underbelly of the United States in all of its redneck glory, and with valiant effort tries to build a sense of sympathy for its characters, which, of course, is in vain. Everything about Mark and his girlfriend Lisa’s life, from their drug abuse to family problems, is undercut by their racist virulence which crescendos from a few side comments about Obama to full-on n-word vocabulary that would make almost anyone want to vomit.
Minervini holds back no blows when exposing a side of America not many know or want to learn about, showing how some people are dealing with their poverty and substance abuse, as well as those who fully embrace their second amendment rights. With ‘fly on the wall’ filmmaking, Minervini is able to capture these people in a way that helps the audience feel empathy for it’s characters — even if it’s under a layer of hate.  
Did you get a chance to see ‘The Other Side’ at the True/False Film Festival? What was your reaction? Leave a comment below.