Tribeca Review: Intolerance Gets Outed in Kirby Dick’s Outrage


One of the best films of the Tribeca Film Festival, Outrage places a spotlight on a long brewing political story that hasn’t been given sufficient attention from the mainstream media. Lucky for us, Oscar-nominated director Kirby Dick is out to set the record straight…err, we mean gay.

A few years back Cara Mertes (of Sundance Institute fame) shed light on a crucial issue that makes Kirby Dick’s Outrage (and documentaries in general) feel more important than ever:

“There are huge challenges facing the country about which we’re not getting particularly good information. So not only are audiences seeking that information, I’m seeing documentary makers who feel a certain motivation to tell the real story, to get out information that’s not being reported to us by our news entities. And so, in a way, documentary filmmakers are sort of acting like journalists.”

Dick fills in a void left by the mainstream media exposing a number of conservative, closeted politicians who simultaneously endorse public policies that harm the gay community to which they actually belong. Although outing is an issue of utter sensitivity, Outrage focuses on criticizing the hypocrisy of abusing one’s power to harm a community through repeated anti-gay voting records, or silence during times such as the AIDS epidemic.

A huge success of the film is the mosaic of subjects such as ACT UP founder Larry Gross, Congressman Barney Frank, journalist Andrew Sullivan, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (Representative, Wisconsin 2nd district), in addition to outed former RNC field director Dan Gurley, and former New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey. Dick also follows blogger Mark Rogers who blazed the initial trails of outing closeted, anti-gay-rights politicians. If you’re like me and don’t really follow political gossip, you’ll be in for a ride as the film rattles through a number of high-profile, closeted politicians including Ed Koch (who already lashed out against his representation in film).

In addition to scrutinizing this hypocrisy, it would be fair to claim, “Outrage makes an eloquent argument that the hypocrisy from actions like staying in the closet leads to a screwed up, brutal society fueled by intolerance: examples include public health failures (Reagan’s closeted cabinet and refusal to acknowledge the AIDS crisis until 1987) and a rise in hate crimes (politicians speaking against gay marriage is linked explicity to cold blooded murders of gay teenagers),” as discussed in the Tribeca Q&A.

In a time where heartbreaking struggles such as California’s Proposition 8 are still compromising the civil liberties of the LGBT community, Outrage is a perfectly timed documentary to inspire change.

A Magnolia Pictures release, Outrage will hit theaters on May 8.