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by on January 17, 2010
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Another inflammatory documentary from Kirby Dick, “Outrage” has a topical twist that makes it more than your standard nonfiction film.

In outing a series of closeted gay politicians who consistently vote for anti-gay legislation and publicly rail against homosexuality while engaging in it themselves.

Dick examines public cases, like that of Idaho Republican Larry Craig, who was arrested in 2007 for soliciting sex inside a Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport men’s room. Instead of coming out and admitting his sexuality, Craig dodged questions and continued voting against every piece of gay-rights legislation that came his way.

Other politicians are outed as well, including Florida governor Charlie Crist (the film features interviews from several people who claimed to have homosexual encounters with him), and other noted right-wingers, including Fox news correspondent Shepard Smith, as well as speaking with openly gay congressman Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) and a host of others.

Dick is the filmmaker behind the tremendous 2006 documentary “This Film Is Not Yet Rated,” where he exposes the prejudices of the Motion Picture Association of America and the haphazardly-created rating system that many of us use to judge whether our children should watch a film, and he brings more of his level-headed, analytical approach to show the rank hypocrisy of men and women who still view homosexuality as something that is so wrong that they only do it with the lights off.

An obvious question for an outsider would be why a gay politician would work against “his own people” by limiting their rights. Dick presents the viewpoint of one activist who speaks about an experience he had in high school, where he picked on other kids rumored to be gay so that he would 1) not be accused himself of being gay, and 2) would fit into the “in” crowd.

There’s also a lengthy section on a political blogger who began outing closeted politicians. There’s discussion on the ethics of forcing someone out of the closet in a public forum, but most of that discussion is saved for the DVD’s rather engaging, lengthy extras, and even some notable gay celebrities, such as Mary Cheney, former VP Dick’s daughter and a noted lesbian who drew public outcry when she refused to call out her father’s administration on gay rights.

Speaking of which, included in the bonus features are deleted scenes, a filmmaker commentary (which addresses the moral dilemma and why Dick ultimately decided to press on with the film), and two interesting post-screening Q&As with the filmmakers, including one where one of the film’s producers claims that Abraham Lincoln and George Washington were both gay.

While there is little in the way of bipartisanship, “Outrage” is a searing, pasisonate  political doc that is very much worth seeing if you’re on either side of the debate.

Film: 4 Yaps
Extras: 5 Yaps