The Long Island Incident (1998) starring Laurie Metcalf, Mackenzie Astin, Peter MacNeill, Tyrone Benskin, Elisa Moolecherry, Cedric Smith directed by Joseph Sargent Movie Review

The Long Island Incident (1998)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Laurie Metcalf in The Long Island Incident (1998)

The Long Road after the Long Island Incident

On the 7th December 1993 Colin Ferguson (Tyrone Benskin) boarded a train at the Long Island Rail Road terminal in midtown-Manhattan and opened fire on the passengers. On that train was Dennis McCarthy (Peter MacNeill - No One Could Protect Her) and his son Kevin (Mackenzie Astin) and whilst Dennis was one of the victims who died Kevin survived but was so seriously wounded he was given just a 10% chance of surviving. Refusing to give up on her son Carolyn McCarthy (Laurie Metcalf - Scream 2) dedicates herself to his rehabilitation, turning down offers to lobby congress for tighter gun controls. But that all changes when the defence lawyer comes up with a way to get Ferguson off. Her campaigning increases when a few years after the incident her Congressman backs the motion to repeal new gun laws leading to Carolyn to enter politics having swapped from being a Republican to a Democrat.

Here is a simple truth, depending where you stand on gun law will heavily affect how you feel when you watch "The Long Island Incident" which is based on a true story. I say that because if you believe in the right of every citizen to carry arms this movie will probably enrage you where as if you agree with tighter gun controls you might find yourself enjoying it. And that has been proven because when this movie was made Charlton Heston is said to have condemned the movie for its political agenda.

Peter MacNeill in The Long Island Incident (1998)

Now as a Brit my feelings about the law in America over gun control do not matter and in truth my interest in watching "The Long Island Incident" is purely as a movie lover rather than someone who holds an interest in either the story or the gun issue. As such I am torn because there are two sides to this movie starting with the retelling of the true story. Now this isn't the greatest dramatization of a true story I have ever watched but it is sold enough in detailing Carolyn's life both prior to the crime and after as she cares for her son and becomes enraged by the attempts to repeal the gun law. In fact when it comes to the dramatization of the events it does so with the minimal of fuss as whilst we watch Colin Ferguson's attempts to obtain a gun prior to the shooting we do not actually see the shooting itself.

But as I said there is the other side to "The Long Island Incident" and that is the political side as it makes a stand for why there should be tighter gun controls. Now from a movie fans point of view it does so less than subtly with a lot of scenes over played to push its point across. As such as a movie fan this side of the movie lets it down and more subtlety would have vastly improved the movie and in turn would have made it not only less propaganda like but making it feel more rounded.

Despite this "The Long Island Incident" benefits from a decent cast especially Laurie Metcalf who delivers a nicely restrained performance so whilst we feel her emotions it isn't a case of too much over acting.

What this all boils down to is that in many ways I feel that "The Long Island Incident" could have been better and more rounded. But it is an interesting movie about a woman who makes a stand for what she believes in following the aftermath of a tragic event.