Let’s clear up one thing right away. Mark Stroman and Marcus Stroman are two very different people. The one in the documentary An Eye for an Eye is a bit more sinister, at least at the start of things. If you’ve followed the ballplayer on social media, you’ll know he can get himself into a different kind of trouble.
After the 9/11 attacks, Stroman goes from a seemingless innocent enough man to one on a mission of vengeance. He claims he’s out to kill Muslims and even successfully kills one man while wounding another. Later on, the wounded man comes to his defense while Stroman is put on death row. The documentary covers Stroman’s crimes, transformation, and whether or not he should be put to death.
This is another one of the usual documentaries on capital punishment and whether it is just. I’m not here to answer those bolder questions. I’m here to let you know if this one is worth watching.
What was good about An Eye for an Eye
I love this premise. I’m a big fan of documentaries about 9/11 fallout, as strange as it may seem. I haven’t written about it yet but The Woman Who Wasn’t There is one of my favorite low-budget documentaries. It’s about a woman who claims she survived the 9/11 attacks. The title gives it away. She wasn’t present.
An Eye for an Eye is a more sinister crime on a similar lower budget. I really enjoyed seeing the people who interact with Stroman. People of all races, sexual orientations, and other beliefs have come together to show the man love and support. Unfortunately, the crimes are in Texas where you can get a life sentence for not saying “excuse me” loud enough.
We get a different look at death row in this documentary. Into the Abyss is another superb documentary about the death penalty but this one includes some of the aftermath. Spoiler Alert: Stroman is put to death and we actually see his lifeless body on a gurney. It was actually a bit horrifying in its own way.
In its own non-flashy way, An Eye for an Eye is memorable enough. It didn’t leave a lasting impression, however, I enjoyed most of it.
What could have made An Eye for an Eye better
There was very little drama in this documentary. The only arc is whether or not they can get Stroman off the hook for the death penalty by circumnavigating the law. It didn’t have much intensity. The whole documentary is very matter of fact.
Learning more about what made Stroman a racist and how much he changed would’ve added an extra element to this. Because it is just one film, much of this is presented in a “need to know” style. I didn’t feel like we ever fully understood who he was before, during, or after the crimes. He’s still an enigma.
The relationships Stroman made after the crimes definitely needed to be looked into more. Why do all of these people feel the need to connect with him? It’s an entirely different question to raise. The documentary felt more like a flesh wound than sharp and piercing.
Is An Eye for an Eye worth watching?
I’d recommend it but not glowingly. It goes by fast and it’s different from many other documentaries. It doesn’t try to answer any question of “why” which kind of hurts it. It’s more of a “how do we prevent this from happening again” but not really.
Overall Score: 6 out of 10
I liked this documentary but it also didn’t seem to achieve much of anything. We have a fascinating case of a vigilante who seemed to rehabilitate himself. What makes it suffer most is how many different approaches and storylines they present without really getting too involved into any single part.