2nd Chance (2022, Ramin Bahrani)

Catching up with a True/False film we missed at the fest, with special guest Katy’s Mom. After a traumatic incident, local man Richard invents bulletproof vest, promotes it endlessly by shooting himself and by publishing a newsletter counting the lives he’s saved. He’s not so interested in discussing lies he’s told or lives he’s endangered with a later revision to the vest that simply didn’t work as well, and confronted with Richard’s uncomplicated hero-story version of the truth, Bahrani interviews a “saved” cop who turned on his friend, wearing a wire to prove the company knew they were selling a deadly product. Most upsetting scene is when Richard gets his combat-addled dad to shoot him, most upsetting omission from the film is that Richard also invented explosive bullets to defeat his own vests. Instead of simply nailing Richard, who offered free guns to cops who’d kill the guys who shot them, Bahrani follows a redemption story of the fallen-out friend and his reformed attacker.