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Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer is must-see cinema. It reveals very inconvenient truths, from which we, as a society, have averted our eyes and stopped our ears. For many years, in Philadelphia, poor women, and their newborn infants, were prey to a serial killer, given license to kill by state authorities. When police stumbled upon the killer’s lair, in a prescription drug raid, the powers of the state, and the media, were bent towards denying or disappearing the truth. This is not fiction. The killer, Dr. Kermit Gosnell, was convicted on three counts of first degree murder, one count of involuntary manslaughter, and a mind-numbing number of lesser charges. Go see this movie, to understand what is really driving the battle for the Supreme Court.
Be assured, this PG-13 film does not contain blood and gore. Instead, the filmmakers skillfully convey outrage and horror, through the actors’ reactions, to things the camera slides past. Among the talent involved, Andrew Klavan wrote the teleplay, Nick Searcy directed, and the husband and wife team of Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer, wrote the screenplay and produced. The movie was crowdfunded through Indiegogo, raising $2.3 million dollars after Kickstarter dumped them, allegedly for political reasons.
Gosnell makes the absolute most of its limited budget. This is no Hallmark movie. It is no Christian schlock movie. It is a small masterpiece.
Perhaps the hardest part of the movie production was getting the human monster right. Hannibal Lecter is a skillfully created fiction. Kermit Gosnell is real. His physical environment, home and abortion clinic, is chaotic, cluttered, befouled. It reflects his moral squalor. And yet, he is quite sure he is charming and he proclaims his firm conviction that his actions are perfectly justified. Getting that right, without becoming a B-movie villain, is true art. Crime scene photographs and an FBI video clip, spaced throughout the end credits, reveal that nothing on-screen, including Gosnell’s behavior, was exaggerated.
At a key moment in the courtroom, the prosecutor is permitted to show the jury a photograph of one of the murdered newborns. She steps to the jury box and stands in front of each juror in turn. We do not see the photograph, taken by one of the unqualified but conscience-ridden clinic workers with her cell phone. We experience the photograph through each juror’s response. As the prosecutor starts back down the jury box, stopping for each juror, we see some jurors shy away, turning their heads. One juror turns her head and raises her hand to her face to block the terrible view.
This last reaction is what we, as a society, have done for far too long. It is the reaction that the Democratic Party demands, and the reaction that Sens. Collins and Murkowski dearly wish to sustain, as a matter of our law lords’ dictates. It is why Democrat senators feel free to question judicial candidates’ religion, in violation of the Constitutional prohibition against religious tests, while establishment Republicans do nothing. But the truth will out.
Gosnell gives the lie to abortion advocates and defenders. Roe v. Wade must be upheld to protect women’s health? See the squalor, the filth. See a state medical board official, a medical professional, testify under oath that her office had orders not to inspect Gosnell’s clinic. The orders were from the top of state government.
Political leaders and the media did not want to know and did not want any story to get out that might drive people to vote for abortion restrictions. The rows reserved for media were empty until a blogger broke a story the local paper could not ignore, finally driving major media to attend the trial. Since then, the national media has failed to follow up, calling it a “local” story. A blogger’s photograph of the empty media rows is part of the end credit graphics.
With full media complicity, politicians were shielded from public outrage and effective mobilization for legislation. Today, the Democrats, with Senator Murkowski and Collins, do not want any nominee to the Supreme Court who might tilt the balance against their death cult. Hence the all-out assault on Judge Kavanaugh, willfully abetted by Jeff Flake.