Pamela Yates' riveting film is a primer on the indiscriminate political violence instigated by the Maoist "Shining Path" guerrillas and the overreaching government counterattacks that killed 70,000 Peruvians between 1980 and 2000.
Yates is an admirably thorough reporter, interviewing historians documenting the era for Peru's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, soldiers, "Shining Path" revolutionaries, victims of both the terrorists and army torturers, and elected officials from the corrupt and autocratic regime of Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori. "State of Fear" presents a lucid, evenhanded look at the dangers that face democracy and the rule of law in an unending cycle of terrorism and counterterrorism. This is a film not to be missed.
**** out of four stars
Unrated but includes mature subject matter and war violence. In English and Spanish, subtitled.