The subject of rats is not something many people want to talk about. It’s easy to understand the reason why, rats, are not very well liked. While most people shy away from both conversation about and, rats in general, filmmakers are shining their lights on them. With last years “Rats” from Morgan Spurlock and now “Rat Film” by Theo Anthony, rats are the star. While both films use rats as the focal point, the stories they tell are quite different.
While Spurlock’s film focused on different locations and how they dealt with their rat problems, “Rat Film” focuses on just one place, Baltimore. The reason for that choice is made pretty clear in the film, as Baltimore city planners might have helped the location of where the biggest rat problems of the city are. The city’s plan was to keep neighborhoods segregated and the map they drew up still has its reaches today. While the obstacles are no longer in place to keep the city segregated modern statistical maps laid upon the original city’s plan fits a little too perfect. As that information sinks in, Anthony shows the effect rats have on different people around the city. What you end of getting is a informative history lesson where rats are a supporting character.
“Rat Film” is worth the watch just for the history of the city of Baltimore. In a time where race seems to be in the spotlight, seeing where we came from can hopefully shed some light on where we are going. While Baltimore has played a part in both the study of rats and their extermination, it doesn’t play as big of part in this film. That choice though doesn’t hurt the film, there are other decisions that do though. The most notable one is the choice of the narrator, whose voice will often make you long for the sound of nails on a chalkboard. While that is a problem, others come in some of the stories told within the doc itself that just are not very interesting. Even with its flaws though “Rat Film” will fill your mind with info that you will be glad you learned, for all you rat haters out there, you might be happy with the over all lack of rats in a film with this title.