Exploring the past and present of a gay man and a former neo-Nazi skinhead, “Facing Fear” is a powerfully moving documentary about forgiveness that unfortunately fails to deliver a complete experience and comes off more as a Dateline prime time special.
“Facing Fear” tells the story of Matthew Boger -- a gay victim of a hate crime perpetrated by Tim Zaal and a group of 14 other skinheads when he was a homeless teenager living on the streets of Los Angeles. Believed to be dead after a ruthless attack, Boger ends up surviving and meets one of his attackers years later in one of the unlikeliest places -- The Museum of Tolerance.
As the documentary rolls on with counter-positioned interviews between the two men, the pain that both had held for so long is very apparent. Not only do you feel compassion towards Boger but also the former white supremacist, Zaal.
The story is a wonderfully inspirational tale of absolution and humanity.
The faults lie with the documentary as a whole. As compelling as the interviews are, they aren’t enough to carry the film to full realization.
The scenes of both men doing presentations in front of audiences uses up too much time and doesn’t add much value to the already short 21 minute runtime.
What did add substance to the film was the pictures of both men when they were younger which showed what time had done to them. Boger who was a bright-eyed happy child now has scars covering his face. Zaal, who once posed in front of guns now wears pollos and walks with a cane. The physical changes were noticeable but most importantly, they both had changed spiritually.
This documentary does them justice by getting their story out, which will change some hearts and minds, but ultimately as a film it falls short of feeling completed.