Weaving his personal biography and private experiences into the story, the Haitian filmmaker has produced a hard-to-describe challenge, mixing detailed dramatic sequences, animation and documentary components, with actor Josh Hartnett, considerably distractingly, representing the face of oppression and genocide by numerous levels of historical past.
The central theme, nevertheless, focuses on an extended street of racism constructed on the tentpoles of “Civilization. Colonization. Extermination.” Peck attracts on writer Joseph Conrad’s “Coronary heart of Darkness” for the title, earlier than continuing to dissect the best way historical past is written and spun by the survivors.
As Peck notes, the “discoverers” of America and others by the centuries characterised themselves as such, utilizing that as cowl to grab the lands of Indigenous peoples, leaving a path of damaged treaties and abuse.
Peck has sought to drive viewers not merely to confront historical past, however to attach it instantly to the current. He additionally needs to encourage a reconsideration of the best way these occasions have been mentioned and portrayed, maybe most successfully by the incorporation of outdated film clips full of photos of informal racism and stereotypes.
There’s an unavoidable sense that one thing as overtly provocative as “Exterminate All of the Brutes” will wind up strictly preaching to the choir. “Historical past is a fruit of energy,” Peck says early on, continuing to deconstruct some rigorously manicured storylines that youngsters have been informed as a way of tearing down statues to them, figuratively if not actually.
Within the press supplies, HBO notes that Peck “freely weaves collectively scripted and unscripted content material,” which might make “Exterminate All of the Brutes” really feel messy, and in locations even disorienting. Which may clarify the community’s determination to consolidate the 4 hours over successive nights.
The online impact, nevertheless, succeeds on the very least in spurring contemplation not solely relating to what we learn about historical past, however how — and who — conveyed that to us. Whereas Peck’s unorthodox method won’t win many converts, the challenge’s existence is, if not fairly a miracle, its personal type of victory.
“Exterminate All of the Brutes” will air April 7-8 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO, which, like, CNN, is a unit of WarnerMedia.