Motley’s Law (2015)

This is another of several recent fascinating documentaries which touches on the evolving situation in the Middle East, specifically the slow rebuilding of Afghanistan, via an American woman who works as a lawyer there for part of the year. As with any documentary, choosing your subject wisely is half the work, and Kimberley Motley jumps off the screen as a big personality, and the fact of being the only foreign lawyer working within the Afghan justice system is certainly an unusual selling point for the story. In the end, it really is a film largely about her, as it contrasts her work in Afghanistan with her family life back home in the USA, and increasingly is about the challenges she faces juggling these commitments. She’s no social justice warrior, or someone out to make a point about US involvement in the Middle East — though there’s an unintended irony about security as her husband’s own story takes a shocking turn — she just needs to make money to support her family life. Indeed, one gets the sense that this is a defining story of a generation, looking for opportunities and seizing upon them despite the risks. These risks start to overwhelm her story towards the end, though Motley remains indefatigable in the face of them, even as the Danish documentarians who’ve made the film are seen becoming increasingly fearful.

Motley's Law film posterCREDITS
Director/Writer Nicole N. Horanyi; Cinematographer Henrik Bohn Ipsen; Length 85 minutes.
Seen at Curzon Bloomsbury (Bertha DocHouse), London, Tuesday 12 April 2016.