Theo Anthony's Rat Film is a revelatory documentary, a film which uses Baltimore's most prevalent rodent, the Rat, to detail the troubled past of Baltimore, a city thats government institutions were primarily responsible for not only the white flight to the suburbs, but also the oppression of the black community through coercive financial methods administered by the cities government officials. Examining the history of the rat in Baltimore, the people who live with them, the people who share an affinity for them, and the people who kill them for a living, Rat Film is an experimental-type documentary which juxtaposes the history of the rats in Baltimore with the history of segregation itself, telling a convincing narrative which draws parallels rats and people, while simultaneous capturing how scientific method and government coercion fueled the troubles of my hometown. Theo Anthony's Rat Film is both intimate in its examination of the people of Baltimore, and grandiose in its deconstruction of the social issues the city faces from an historical perspective, showing an affinity for the unique personalities and determined mentality of its people. Detailing major federally funded research about Rats in Baltimore through the years, Rat Film showcases how an ecological approach, raising the standard of living among citizens around Baltimore was never fully enacted, with the government always turning to the more offensive approach, one which only target the rats, instead of focusing on the larger cause, the poverty and poor conditions of many of the communities of the city. Rat Film paints a convincing argument that man and rats share similar traits, detailing John Calhoun's behavioral study of rodents, drawing troubling parallels between the treatment of blacks by the coercive, racist government elements and those of the rats which achieved the higher social status among those in Calhoun's study. A documentary with character, Rat Film introduces us to individuals, all of which have unique ways of dealing with the rat infestation. While one man has a full armory of various pellet gun weaponry for fighting the rat infestation, another set of men resort to turkey lunchmeat, peanut butter, a fishing rod, and a baseball bat, all of which have a shared struggle against the rats who threaten their homes. Of all the colorful characters of the film, the professional exterminator stands out the most, whose philosophical ramblings introduce us to a man whose introspective, empathetic, and hard working, an inspiring figure in the film. Many of these character profiled focus on the offensive strategy of elimination instead of the ecological one, with Rat Film brilliantly capturing the long-reaching effects which racist government coercion has had on the city and its people, detailing how such things have long lasting effects on the culture and lexicon of a community, which still remains relatively segregated to this day, due to wrongdoing in the past.
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