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HomeMovie‘A Shot Through the Wall’ Review: Tipping Justice’s Scales

‘A Shot Through the Wall’ Review: Tipping Justice’s Scales


Written and directed by Aimee Long, “A Shot Through the Wall” considers the modern dilemma about race and policing in the United States from the perspective of a Chinese American police officer in New York. When a rookie, Mike Tan (Kenny Leu), chases a teenager through an apartment building in Brooklyn, Mike accidentally fires his gun, killing a Black man.

After the shooting, Mike is seen agonizing over his actions, though his immigrant parents, Chow and May (Tzi Ma and Fiona Fu), are supportive. At work, his superiors assure him everything will blow over — until a video revealing Mike’s identity goes viral, prompting widespread demands for justice and the possibility of a sentence that includes jail time. Mike then seeks the help of a high-powered attorney who encourages him to flaunt his Black girlfriend, Candace (Ciara Renée), to blunt any accusations of racism.

Though attentive to calls for police accountability, and the media’s role in reducing complex issues into simple narratives, Long’s schematic script ramps up theatrics at the expense of more challenging insights.

Nevertheless, the brisk, eventful melodrama has an undeniably absorbing appeal, and the strongest moments in the film occur when Long illuminates Mike’s family life with subtle details about the relationship between two generations of Chinese Americans — as when May’s English is smugly corrected by her daughter.

Alienated and desperate upon realizing the exploitative strategies he needs to perform in order to avoid a conviction, Mike illegally purchases a weapon and betrays his loved ones before coming to his senses. By the final act, however, Long pulls the rug out from under us in a way that implausibly drives home the film’s perfunctory ideas about gun violence, police incompetence and the victimhood of communities of color.

A Shot Through the Wall
Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 30 minutes. In theaters and available to rent or buy on Amazon, Google Play and other streaming platforms and pay TV operators.



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MD Abdullah
Abdullah is a former educator, lifelong money nerd, and a Plutus Award-winning freelance writer who specializes in the scientific research behind irrational money behaviors. Her background in education allows her to make complex financial topics relatable and easily understood by the layperson. She is the author of four books, including End Financial Stress Now and The Five Years Before You Retire.
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