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Case Number 22851: Small Claims Court

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Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero

PBS // 2002 // 120 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // December 3rd, 2011

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson still has a pit in his stomach, when viewing these 9-11 releases.

The Charge

"It's what makes me feel we're not fools to believe in God."

The Case

Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero is a PBS Frontline documentary that aired in 2002, re-issued for the tenth anniversary of 9-11.

It's sort of an odd production, actually. As it was no doubt filmed not long after the attacks, the emotions are still extraordinarily raw. (Who am I kidding? When they flashed those still shots of the WTC jumpers I had to look away; those are images I will never be comfortable with.)

For nearly two hours, the Frontline cameras turn their attention to an array of people affected by the attacks: firefighters, family members, police officers, witnesses, security guards, and a hefty selection of religious figures from various faiths—Jews, Buddhists, Christians and Muslims. In the interviews, some clergy offer their personal theodicy, attempting to unravel some of the deeper questions about evil and God's purpose.

Mainly, Faith and Doubt is a venting session, people from different paths in life sitting in front of a camera and letting it all out. While it may be therapeutic for those involved, it was gut-wrenching for me. Ten years removed, these heartfelt confessions still hit me where it counts.

So don't go into this expecting a scholarly examination of the foundations of evil or an answer to the age-old question about why God lets bad things happen to good people. That's not what Faith and Doubt is concerned with. It simply gives voice to those directly affected by this abject horror. (Though that didn't prevent a couple of out-of-place shots at the Christian faith, but whatever.)

Disc specs: 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen (looking a little dated), 2.0 stereo, and no extras.

The Verdict

Look elsewhere for deep thoughts about God, evil, and whatnot; Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero is a platform for the damaged—and it's tough stuff. Not Guilty.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 80

Perp Profile

Studio: PBS
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• English (SDH)
Running Time: 120 Minutes
Release Year: 2002
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Documentary
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• None


• IMDb

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