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Sundance Film Festival

Sundance Film Review - 2nd Chance

Sundance Institute

2nd Chance is screening in the Premiere category - 4 suns

Richard Davis, the inventor of a popular brand of bullet-proof vest, is an enthusiast, an idealist, a buffoon, a manipulator and a tragically corrupted figure.

His company, Second Chance, was established in the 1970’s thanks to campy violent promotional films, and countless exhibitions of Davis shooting himself in the chest point-blank. The company became the major industry in a small Michigan town.

But the film shows that episodes in Davis’ rags-to-riches story may not be true. There are instances where his wild pyrotechnical displays caused accidental injuries. And finally, Second Chance collapsed when it was discovered the company had mass-produced a defective vest.

Director Ramin Bahrani is fascinated by the tragic archetype of the American Salesman. (He referenced Arthur Miller in his online remarks.) Amazingly, he got Davis to sit down to review the highs, lows and controversies of his life.

The film sometimes goes off on tangents, but in one case, it creates a poignant end note for the film.