Picks and Pans Review: My Father's Gun
History Channel (Mon., June 24, 9 p.m. ET)
Brian McDonald's 1999 book My Father's Gun which related his family's three-generation history with the New York City Police Department, could have been adapted into a drama or a straight documentary. Instead we get this interesting but unsatisfying "documovie" hybrid, which starts with a curious note: "This program contains scenes that are dramatized, with special attention given to historical accuracy." "Would you accept anything less from the History Channel?
Re-creations may be necessary in dealing with the police career of McDonald's dead grandfather, but the film is most alive when his father and brother (both retired from the NYPD) speak for themselves. Next to the ex-cops' own reminiscences, the dramatizations—however accurate—inevitably come off as mere playacting. And the phoniest of the staged scenes are the ones showing the author smoking and cogitating at his typewriter.
Bottom Line: The force isn't with it
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