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Robert Daniels Apr 7, 2021 6:00 pm
Raoul Peck’s four-part HBO documentary series besieges the romantic myth of the United States, chronicling the bloody arc of imperialism using documentary footage, movie references, needle drops, and narration, all with concentrated precision. Blistering and dense, “Exterminate All the Brutes,” picks up where his “I Am Not Your Negro” left off with its unsparing deletion of accepted falsehoods.
From the first Crusades to the current racial landscape of America, Peck identifies centuries of oppression forced upon Black and Indigenous people and narrates an ever-shifting arrangement of historical atrocities that chart the rise of scientific racism. It’s a sprawling academic narrative, but it’s Peck who makes it approachable with his own passion and ambition. Stylistically, the docuseries is as broad as its timeline. Peck combines reenactments of historical events, provocative fictionalizations, arresting documentary footage, and animation. There’s also self-reflective references to his own films and comedic callbacks to other movies. More than 1,000 years of genocidal events are a lot to consume, but Peck creates a cohesive journey that shows how original sins manifest into present-day racial injustices.(...)