3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets

Movie review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets Movie Poster Image
Emotional docu explores racism in Florida murder trial.
  • NR
  • 2015
  • 98 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Murder, loss, racial bias, legal justice are themes. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Dunn appears unremorseful and racist in his denial. 

Violence

Descriptions of shootings, bloody injuries, a dead teen (no blood visible). Bullets, guns shown.

Sex

References to making love. A rape victim. 

Language

"Crap," "piss," "bitch," “f--k," "s--t." Racial terms such as "cracker."

Consumerism

Logos for Toyota, Coca-Cola, Dell partially visible.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

References to smoking, drinking, and drug use but nothing shown. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the documentary 3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets explores racism and Florida's "stand your ground" law within the context of a high-profile murder trial. Murder, loss, and legal justice are also major themes. There are frequent descriptions of a shooting, bloody injuries, and death but no bloody images. Cursing ("bitch," "f--k," "s--t") is frequent, and on occasion references are made to sex as well as being a rape victim, drinking, and drug use. It's powerful and intense but can serve as a good foundation for discussing racial issues with teens.

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What's the story?

3 1/2 MINUTES, TEN BULLETS is a documentary that follows the trial of the State of Florida vs. Michael Dunn. On November 23, 2012, 17-year-old Jordan Davis was shot and killed when Dunn opened fire on an SUV in which Davis and his friends, Leland Brunson, Tommie Stornes, and Tevin Thompson sat listening to loud music in a convenience store parking lot. With the help of courtroom footage, jailhouse recordings, and archived media, the film highlights key moments of the high-profile trial, as well as Dunn's thoughts about the incident and his subsequent arrest. Interviews with the three teens, as well as with Davis’ parents, Lucy McBath and Ron Davis, contribute to the examination of how racial bias and Florida’s controversial "stand your ground" law played a role in what is now ruled as a murder. 

Is it any good?

This emotionally charged documentary offers a painstaking look at how race and Florida law played a role in the death of Jordan Davis and its continued impact on the African-American community. Adding to the conversation are some of the parallels drawn between this case and the high-profile death of Trayvon Martin, as well as conversations that underscore prevailing racial prejudices in America. 

Woven throughout the poignant moments in 3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets are troubling excerpts of the unremorseful Dunn's own words; his views compared to that of Davis' family would be a great place to start in opening a conversation about racial bias with your teens. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about racism. What kinds of racial stereotypes are explored in 3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets? Where do these generalizations come from? How do they affect the way we understand laws or look at the world around us? What role did stereotyping play in the events featured? 

  • What is a a documentary? Is it the same as a reality show? Should documentaries be unbiased in the way they tell their stories? Should a documentarian have an agenda? Why, or why not? 

  • What is the "stand your ground" law? Why is it so controversial? If this law were not on the books, do you think Jordan Davis would still be alive?

Movie details

For kids who love big issues

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