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Stranger at The Gate

average rating is 4 out of 5


Jason Knight


Posted on:

Sep 24, 2022

Film Reviews
Stranger at The Gate
Directed by:
Joshua Seftel
Written by:
Richard McKinney, Dana McKinney, Emily McKinney, Bibi Bahrami, Saber Bahrami, Jomo Williams, Zaki Bahrami

A short documentary about Richard McKinney, an individual whose anger towards Islam almost led to a devastating event.


Through interviews, photographs and archive footage, this documentary analyses a remarkable story about a person who had found himself in a dark place and as a result, believed that violence was the only answer.


The person that the documentary revolves around is Richard McKinney, a U.S. Army veteran, who fought in the Middle East and Somalia. Having returned to the States, he was filled with anger and hatred towards Muslim people and decided that he was going to blow up the Islamic Center of Muncie, in Indiana. Fortunately, after coming into contact with people at the mosque, he realised the errors of his intentions and ended up becoming a Muslim and even president of the centre.


As Richard is being interviewed, he talks about his past, why he started hating Muslims and what motivated him to cancel his plans for the bombing. Other interviewees include Richard's wife Dana and her daughter Emily, both of which provide an insight into what it was like living with him. Other interviewees also include Muslims who are associated with the mosque and they include Dr. Saber Bahrami, his wife Bibi and their son Zaki. Listening to the interviewee's experiences is fascinating, informative, moving and together they tell quite a story.


There are many photographs of the people who are interviewed and they provide information regarding their past. The archive footage includes conflict in the Middle East and the September 11 attacks.


The tense and dramatic score that is provided by Meredith Ezinma Ramsay is a great contribution that makes the moments more powerful. Jeremy Medoff and Eric Metzgar worked on the editing and did a fine job.


This half-hour-long documentary provides a memorable insight into an astonishing story that could have been a movie script. The experience of viewing this encourages the idea that one must turn their back on hatred and violence and reveals the importance and joy of embracing good.

About the Film Critic
Jason Knight
Jason Knight
Short Film, Documentary
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