Licensed to Kill



IMDb Rating 7.1 10 206

Keywords:   homophobia

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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by jroygillis 9 / 10

Licensed to Kill a Great Educational Resource

The movie contains some fascinating interviews with men convicted of sexual orientation based hate crime murders. The director details the nature of their offenses and probes the motivations for their crimes. While some of the descriptions of the crimes are horrific, and the lack of remorse for their actions and lack of empathy for their victims expressed by some of the perpetrators is disturbing, the movie is engaging and revealing. The central theme of the movie as expressed in it title "Licensed to Kill" is well-developed throughout the course of the film as various individuals express their rationale as to why they believed it was "okay" to kill gay men. The film provides interesting insights into the motivations for sexual orientation bias crimes, and would be particularly useful for educational activities and classroom study.

Reviewed by dove_504 8 / 10


One of the common themes in this movie is the question of remorse. Of the men being interviewed, very few showed any type of remorse for taking the life of another human being(s). Most of these murderers made what seemed to be excuses for their crimes. Alcohol, being abused as a child, and self-defense seemed to be the common answers for why they chose to shoot, stab, and kill these individuals. While these excuses did exist there seemed to be a much deeper driven force that led to such crimes. This was the hate, judgment and prejudice that most of these men admitted they possessed. These men possessed homonegativity, and most explained by the values that they held against gay men. Sheriff Dallas, a man who claims he targeted gay men only because they were easy targets and not because of homonegativity, still showed little remorse. When referring to the incident where he shot the man he explained how his intent was not to kill, rather that the bullet was responsible for his crime. Kenneth Train was the only exception of all the men interviewed. However, he was remorseful for killing four people at a restaurant who were most likely not gay. If his victims were gay men, there might not have been any remorse on his behalf. From my perspective as a viewer even though Train showed remorse for his victims he held the strongest Value Expression of homonegativity. He undermined gay men as humans; he believed that they weakened America as a nation. Such evidence proved that Train showed the strongest homonegativity of all the men interviewed. 11080553

Reviewed by cmouse1234 10 / 10

Raw look at overt homonegativity

11037421 Licensed to Kill is a raw look at American homonegativity in the 90's. After being assaulted, Arthur Dong showed incredible bravery, having the courage to look these aggressors in the eyes and ask why; and the courage to listen to the responding lack of remorse, and in some cases pride, these individuals took from their crimes. Dong must be very strong to have been able to sit back and listen to these men spew disgust for gay men and excuses for their crimes when in reality there is no excuse for killing someone over their sexual orientation. The word "kill" written in a murder victim's blood is a potent image that epitomizes the hatred inherent in these acts. Reflecting on this image days later one still feels the blood-lust emanating from that wall. This appalling violence is seen in a more clandestine version through the story of William Kiley; after being brutally beaten by a teenager his neighbors did not phone the police but instead scorned Kiley for spraying his attacker with water. It is not hard for the viewer to connect the dots and consider how one lesser offense against a gay man can escalate into full blown murder. Comprehending how and why person would commit such offenses is beyond difficult but the film endeavors to show just that. Some of the men utilize vengeful Bible verses and myths of pedophilia to justify their crimes. Very few express remorse, other than being frustrated with the inconvenience of going to prison. Jeffrey Swinfold exemplifies this notion stating that his "taking care of" a gay man "is one less problem the world needs to deal with". The shocking yet fascinating overt homonegativity shown in this film leaves the viewer pondering what has changed in the 16 years since the films release. 11037421

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