Critic Reviews



Based on 11 critic reviews provided by
Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? an overwhelming experience. It fills the current American landscape with the hatred, oppression, and violence that also scars its history.
The movie, a scorching and rigorous essay on memory and accountability, is neither a profession of guilt nor a performance of virtue. Though his inquiry is intensely, at times painfully personal, Mr. Wilkerson is above all concerned with unpacking the mechanisms of racial domination.
Village Voice
It’s hard not to experience Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? and not get shivers up your spine — from fear, from anger, and from the beauty of Wilkerson’s filmmaking.
Slant Magazine
In directly requesting the audience's trust, Travis Wilkerson initiates a not-particularly-inviting proposition for the viewer, and specifically the white American viewer.
The Film Stage
When the repressed past gains sudden and violent visibility in the present, the genre that’s evoked is horror, and one of the film’s greatest strengths is the way it leans into this association.
It’s impossible to deny the power of much of what’s on display here. Wilkerson looks at the racial discord and violence in the world around him and has the courage to examine his own legacy instead of just casting off the concept as something that happens to or is perpetrated by others.
Recounting his attempt to learn more about his great-grandfather's killing of a black man in 1946, Wilkerson is a compelling enough guide that it may be some time before the audience starts to wonder if the central mystery is a red herring.
Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? is at its sharpest and most necessary when Wilkerson interrogates his personal connection to the past, extrapolating his reticence to explore his own family’s violent history into a national epidemic of people who are similarly reluctant to do the same.
For someone so gloomily aware of his own privilege, Wilkerson spends a lot of the film playing dumb and speculating—a writer’s trick for giving shape to a piece with a thesis and no conclusion. He doesn’t have the footage to make Did You Wonder Who Fired The Gun? come together as an investigation narrative, and his insistence on a quasi-chronological structure means that it doesn’t work as an essay, either.
Wilkerson doesn’t mean to suggest ambiguity with his title, since no one questions the identity of the culprit, but it is regrettably indicative of his naval-gazing focus on family skeletons, combined with a deeply annoying tendency to sensationalize the obvious.

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