Days after the death of his only child, Jordan, Ron Davis opened a text message: “I just want to welcome you to a club that none of us want to be in.” It came from the father of Trayvon Martin—another black, unarmed 17-year-old whose fatal 2012 shooting became a flash point for the national conversation on race, gun culture, and Stand Your Ground laws.
Marc Silver’s sobering documentary offers a feature-length examination of what went wrong the night a 47-year-old white software developer named Michael Dunn pulled into a Jacksonville, Fla., gas station and, after a brief altercation over loud music, emptied 10 bullets into the SUV containing Jordan and three other friends. Dunn insisted it was self-defense; police never found evidence of a credible threat, nor the weapon he claimed Jordan brandished at him. He was found guilty of first-degree murder.
Dunn makes an easy villain—the lack of empathy and self-awareness exposed in his testimony and jailhouse recordings is staggering—and Ten Bullets doesn’t do much to explore his background or motivations. But it works hard to expose the slow grind of justice and terrible human cost behind the headlines. And in showing Jordan as not just a statistic but a sweet, strong-willed kid who loved girls and clothes and was comically bad at basketball, it gives something back to him: the voice that Michael Dunn silenced when he reached for his pistol. A–