Beyond Right & Wrong
Do murderers deserve forgiveness?
“Beyond Good & Evil” is about whether or not people can, and should, forgive those who have committed unforgivable acts against them. It’s a survey of sorts, taking stories and interviews from the Rwandan genocide, the Israel & Pakistan conflict and the Irish troubles.
In Rwanda, a woman’s five children were murdered. When the murderer asks for her forgiveness, what does she do?
In Israel & Pakistan, a man’s daughter is senselessly killed by a stray rubber bullet. Is revenge necessary?
In Ireland, a man whose bombing killed five people and injured 30 more connects with the daughter of his most prominent victim. Should she forgive him? Can he?
These are three of several narratives “Beyond Right & Wrong” hops across. Each segment features interviews with the victim and the offender, as well as supplementary material explaining the social context of the violence. Occasionally, historians and social psychologists provide insight into the nature of cultural violence. Directors Roger Spottiswoode and Lekha Singh make an effort, however, to keep the focus away from making a grander point about human nature. The film is far more interested in finding the peace people can make despite the horrors they have experienced.
I really enjoyed “Beyond Right & Wrong.” The filmmakers did a good job providing a wide variety of subjects and differentiating the three conflicts it chose to take from. It makes a point of humanizing each and every person it interviews, from the innocent bystander to the man who murdered children. At no point does the story feel manufactured by special editing techniques or an agenda. Spottiswoode and Singh never downplay the violence or humanity’s horrible potential — which makes the forgiveness they choose to spotlight all the more powerful.