UnCivil Liberties
 
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Product Description

Set in the near future where the government (in the name of security) resorts to heightened surveillance of it's own citizens and extremists boldly rebel and take up arms in resistance.Political intrigue abounds in a complex upside down world as militia assassin Mike Wilson secretly decides to renounce the violence his job demands and Homeland Security Official Cynthia Porter purposely sabotages a government spying operation. Consequently both must now face paying the price for betraying the organizations they had faithfully served. Wilson is soon gunned down by a comrade-in-arms although his pacifism is quickly passed to fellow militia member Sam Norton. Now Norton is suddenly faced with foiling a terrorist plot to bomb Porter's office and rescue her from the pursuit of zealous government agents. Surprising twists and turns rivet the viewer in this politically charged thriller.DVD Extras: Eating Out 2 Trailer Additional Trailers Behind The Scenes ExtrasSystem Requirements:Runtime: 110 Minutes Format: DVD MOVIE Genre: DRAMA UPC: 631008163796 Manufacturer No: IFD637

Customer Reviews:
  • The end of America
    I had great hopes for this movie, especially after reading Carolyn Baker's review. However, I must admit to being disappointed due to the amateurish nature of the project--in my opinion. The director meant well and his message gets across but the undramatic scenery, action, and acting don't make for compelling viewing. Sorry....more info
  • An Fresh Look at Violence and Society
    At last, a movie that takes the connection between violence and civil liberties seriously. And does it well, too.

    This is a technically proficient, well acted film with unusually good production values for a low-budget movie, including a really satisfying explosion. I was entertained by this movie.

    But what sets UnCivil Liberties apart for me, what makes it both unusual and important, is its insistence that the value we place on the worth and dignity of each person must trump violence and intolerance if our civilization is going to survive.

    A related issue woven into the fabric of this film is liberty of conscience vs. government surveillance when our government depends for its legitimacy on citizen participation. All heavy stuff made entertaining by a very good writer-director.

    I hope that independent film-maker Thomas Mercer will continue to explore these issues in future films and that he will find the money to make them. (That's a hint, Hollywood.)
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  • Between Liberty and Security
    "Uncivil Liberties"

    Between Liberty and Security

    Amos Lassen and Cinema Pride


    When I received my copy of "Uncivil Liberties" from Ariztical Films, I had no idea of what to expect. I was surprised at the quality of the film and the nature of its subject. After having seen so many cheesy gay films, I was hardly prepared for a first rate political thriller. "Uncivil Liberties" looks deeply at the future consequences of government surveillance of private individuals. It is loaded with ethical ambiguity. Directed by Tom Mercer, this is a hard hitting look at what could well become reality.
    The movie is set in the near future ad depicts an America where the government uses the highest of all surveillance methods on its citizens I the name of national security. Domestic extremists rebel ad take up arms in resistance. The world is turned upside down as political intrigue rules. Militia assassin, Mike Watson, suddenly ad unexpectedly decides to ignore the violence that is demanded by his assignment. Cynthia Porter, Homeland Security officer sabotages a government spying operation on purpose and the two must now pay the price for betraying the government organizations which they had served so faithfully. Cynthia is labeled as a terrorist by those she formerly worked with and faces both personal and professional crises. Wilson is then gunned down by one of his own comrades and his pacifism finds a new home in Sam Norton who becomes involved with stopping a terrorist plot to bomb Cynthia's office and save her from government agents. Twists and turns continue I this very highly charged political thriller.
    "Uncivil Liberties" is a cautionary tale of what can happen if we are watched too much. When the system breaks down, everything goes awry and the consequences that follow are disastrous. Here we have a point of view which we should all be thinking about. When the government uses its "War on Terror" to justify the end of our civil liberties, it is time for us to begin a war. Both war and suppression of liberties are actions that our government s only too eager to take. The future consequences of this type of society means that we can be spied on in everything we do. The movie raises questions which make us think. The righteous claim that the differences between good and evil are what pushed this country into a quagmire of trouble in the past few years. The answers to our problems are probably in the handsof the most dangerous of people.
    The movie was filmed on direct to video which gives it a very realistic look--something like watching live news o CNN. The cast turns in performances that are real and honest and if I did not know that I was watchig a movie, I would think I was simply watching the news. The movie lies somewhere between liberty and security. The theme is especially important to the GLBT community as we have always been thought f as subcvervise. The few rights that we have now could be considerably lessened or eliminated altogether. The rise of a state of surveillance should be disturbing to everyone but especially to us.
    The movie had to be somewhat ambiguous as there are no direct answers. Material in the movie comes from current events and this makes it all the more frightening. We live in a world that has been turned upside down and in a scenario like the one in "Uncivil Liberties". We may never see it turn itself right-side up.
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  • Impressive Debut
    Tom Mercer has crafted a very good political thriller that deals with modern day issues. The parallel stories of Cynthia Porter and Sam Norton work well: looking at the issue from multiple viewpoints was an intelligent decision by Mercer. The cast is solid, particularly Glenn Allen, who is riveting in the trial scene. The set design and effects are also impressive, especially for an independent film, which was almost assuredly shot on a very low budget. This is an impressive debut from Mercer. I look forward to more of his work....more info
  • --good movie, I would pay to see it again
    I think this is a very good movie. It is very timely, almost taken from of the news stories of today. It is a movie to be seen by many people with different points of view. I was surprised by how the movie ended. I didn't expect the ending at all. I do hope there will be a follow up movie, to see where the charaters go next. Actually I think it would make a great weekly TV show.

    I would recommend this movie to be enjoyed on a weekend night with friends. I would love to be there for the discussion after the movie. Thanks to Mr. Mercer and the players for a most enjoyable and thought filled evening. ...more info
  • Nice thought, bad execution.
    It's true that our government's encroachment on our civil liberties under the guise of "homeland security" is a serious problem and an afront to our constitution. However, I'm not certain how this poorly written, poorly acted cliche-fest does anything to inspire anyone to right our government's wrongs. It was a nice thought, but it's execution falls short of the importance of the topic....more info
  • Give Me Liberties or . . .
    Thought-provoking, enjoyable film. Is it "the system" that compels good people to do evil, or is it the worst of human nature that designs systems that cause us harm? Reminded me in some ways of "Minority Report," where the all-consuming quest for security engulfs everything else....more info
  • I'm buying this one!
    I enjoyed UnCivil Liberties very much. The plot and acting were really good. The film kept my interest all the way through and the ending was very satisfying. Let's hope someone in Washington takes the hint!...more info
  • LIBERTIES?
    Watch this film for its content but also for a really wonderful performance by Penny Perkins (and others). Tom Mercer has crafted a truly thought-provoking feature about the lack of a line (fine or otherwise) between civil liberties and national security. Nobody is either secure or at liberty in this really fine first effort. Independant film is alive and well, however! ...more info
  • "There is no 'System'..."
    I highly recommend Uncivil Liberties to anyone interested in exploring the fine line that runs between the protection and violation of our "inalienable rights". Director Tom Mercer shows us a world of characters who walk that "fine line", and he counterbalances them so that we ask just what it might be that makes a person a terrorist, a patriot, or a force of oppression vs. freedom in "The System". I think it took a lot of "chuztpah" for Mercer and his producers to make this film, to show it at a high traffic venue (where I saw it), and to give voice to opinions not completely shared by the mainstream movie-going public.

    It is also one of the finest specimens of independent *and* low budget film making I've seen, and shows us that low-budget is not synonymous with low quality--by any stretch. The story, photography, editing, and acting all point to the professionalism of the filmmakers, and their ability to turn out a quality product. And be sure to watch the behind-the-scenes documentary to learn about the dedication and persistence it took to make Uncivil Liberties. This film is an inspiration for first-time independent filmmakers everywhere.

    Other cinematic touches I enjoyed: A journey into the interior of an urban mosque in which a working definition of justice gets..."discussed" (you'll have to see for yourself). Also, a touch of "techno-mysticism" when we glimpse into the subconscious of the film's heroine (anti-heroine?) implying an organic link between our collective consciousness as humans and the complex networks of computers that connect us in our daily activities (needless to say, When a film goes *there*, I am instantly hooked!).

    But for all its timeliness and topicality, while watching it I was sometimes reminded of older favorites like Odd Man Out (1947) and other films that depecit the social dynamics of separatist groups. Another in that category I liked was No (1998) about Quebec separatism. Maybe watch all of these in sequence and toss in your own politically-themed favorites for a livingroom film festival that studies the dynamics of political oppression and subversion. And while you do this, be sure to cherish your absolute right to do so!


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  • left meets right
    In this directorial debut Tom Mercer has left meet right, and they've all got the same issues, the point being that fanatacism and fear-based thinking look the same, no matter which side of the political fence they reside on. It's good to see that recognized, and also good to see the interesting way in which a complex plot works that out. This is a film that asks you to think while it entertains you. Nicely done, Tom....more info
  • Mercer scores big with prophetic vision into our not so distant future
    Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a screening of "UnCivil Liberties" during it's limited theatrical run, with the added bonus of being in the company of the film's Writer / Director Tom Mercer, who was present for a Q & A session following the screening.

    The film itself speaks volumes as to the "Big Brother" mentality of our own government and truly gives an eerie look into what could be our near future. In a world where paranoia runs deep following the attacks on September 11th, our own government seems it not only to be fit, but necessary, that all of it's citizens be tracked and placed under relentless monitoring. Their rationale seems to be that it is simply because you never can tell who is and is not a terrorist.

    When a troop of modern day patriots seek to strike a blow to and blind the ever-watching eye of the government, one will stand up in defiance of killing one of those responsible for the URTS (Universal Resident Tracking System), the program's creator, Cynthia Porter.

    Due to his direct disobedience to the orders given to him, he will set off a chain of events that will make those who were once enemies, allies, those who once worked for the system, to feel the need to break out when walls seem to be closing in on them, and those who once stood proudly in salute to our country's flag, to fear being swallowed in the shadow of it.

    UnCivil Liberties, though produced at the budget that it was, still gives you big budget thrills and story and will spark many meaningful conversations long after the credits have ceased to roll and the lights have come up.

    I highly recommend this film and looking forward to future works from Tom Mercer. ...more info
  • Nerd v. terrorist
    I liked the central character, a tightly wound computer nerd who has devised a way for Homeland Security to track the movements of ordinary Americans. I also liked the rogues gallery of terrorists, with their secret agendas of white power, no taxes, firearm ownership and religious fundamentalism. When your favorite terrorist puts your favorite government snoop in his gunsight, whom do you root for?

    As a low-budget, independent film, Uncivil Liberties pleases. It's not a message movie. It's a story movie, and you can draw the message you want out of it. I thought it was a film about what it means to be loyal.

    There is a certain amount of stereotyping; the fanatics act fanatical and the bureaucrats are bureaucratic. But first time writer/director Tom Mercer milks drama from the personal choices the characters make. Four stars. Worth a look.
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  • Saw this many times and would watch it many more.
    We walk a tightrope asking how do we balance our national and personal security and still retain our personal liberties and keep Big Government as non invasive as possible while still serving the (American) public interests.

    As a proud conservative American I must say that UL does a good job of showing all facets of the powers trying to undermine our great country from Muslim extremeists to radical militia groups. While the actual explanation of how the public is tracked is a bit confusing UL is a visually stunning piece of work especially for a low budget Albany, NY area movie. The soundtrack is great as well as the visual effects.

    As a movie maker, this has the look and feel of a movies I strive to make....more info
  • Alienable Rights
    I saw this movie at the Madison Theater in Albany and I was impressed by the solid performances from most of the lead actors. The story is very topical, yet the film manages to avoid any soapbox grandstanding (and I will do the same)....more info
  • A lot of effort, little results
    If you can overlook the stilted dialog, shallow and stereotypical character "development", choppy editing, plot gaps (where there is plot), and poor quality, you might be able to discern the point that the film maker says he's trying to make in this cliche-fest. The very important issue that is addressed in the film often gets lost in a quagmire of directorial missteps. Perhaps that's why the film maker attempts to make the same points over and over again in a manner that is so transparent as to be somewhat insulting to the audience. The soundtrack is the highlight of the film and it is actually quite good. It's nice to see my hometown in this film and a relief that no one I know is in it....more info
  • The harm well-meaning people can do
    The Patriot Act - don't you love that name? - has inspired countless op-ed pieces and editorials expressing alarm about its threat to our personal liberties. Moreover, two years later and with fears still unabated, we got Patriot Act Two! It should serve as a lesson about how easy it is to stampede a nation to panic, how willing it is to exchange freedoms for security, and how precarious democracy really is. No pile of writing has as yet allayed this surge in public sentiment, and the nightly news serves, if anything, to fan the flames.

    Perhaps, then, one way to respond to the tide of legislative bills threatening our civil liberties is to fan some fears in the opposite direction. That is, to show in a dramatic and compelling way how loss of our liberties also constitutes a threat to our well-being and fulfillment. It is possible, just perhaps, that whipping up the specter of terrorist attacks is really the greater danger to our democratic life.

    "Uncivil Liberties," a newly released full-length film, dramatizes these dangers in a skillfully woven and very realistic plot. As the scenes unfold, the bureaucratic mentality prevails at every turn. People we can easily identify with -- good people and dedicated public officials -- take steps that seem entirely reasonable and logical to protect public safety. That's their job. The inexorable result is a series of steps ever closer to an Orwellian police state, dependent upon all the modern technology that can today be brought to bear.

    This leads in turn to the growth of a resistance force, not some fully disciplined and unified body of freedom-loving citizens, but a rag-tag alliance of religious fanatics, utopian libertarians, gun-loving zealots, and soldiers of fortune, all dedicated to overthrowing "the system." And it is this alliance which the government - with all its might and guile - is challenged to face down and destroy.

    In this small episode, it fails to do so. But the end of the story is not drawn for us; "Uncivil Liberties is only a prequel. Nor should it be the end, because it hasn't unfolded yet. The choice is starkly presented, however, in a way that will compel our reflection and discussion. There is no guarantee to democratic rule; it rests always precariously on the capacities of a responsible populace and a deliberative leadership. The writers and producers have done a commendable job in giving us a film portraying the dilemma of our time. This film will stay with you. See it.
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  • See This Movie!
    There were special showings of this movie in Tom Mercer's home town. I have been fortunate enough to see it a couple of times before the DVD is released. What a thought-provoking film: Where should the line be drawn between personal liberty and national security? The film was scary also: I can see where our country is headed if we citizens don't pay attention to what our government is doing and keep it from going overboard. The plot of the film is compelling: it draws you in and holds you until the very end.
    Each time I've seen the film I've noticed something I didn't notice previously, so I think owning the DVD and viewing it repeatedly is a good idea.
    The musical score is excellent also - it really enhances the story as it unfolds.
    I plan to purchase a copy of the DVD for myself and will purchase additional copies to give to friends/family members who don't live locally and haven't had the opportunity to see it on the big screen in my local theater....more info