Ever since Roe v. Wade, the United States has been deeply divided on the issue of abortion. In that landmark case, an unmarried woman was refused an abortion in Texas. The judicial challenge that followed won women the right to legal abortions. Proponents and opponents have lined up on either side of the issue ever since, launching verbal abuse – and worse – at each other. As the religious right has increasingly flexed its power, the issue has become even more divisive – and violent. Tony Kaye, best known for American History X, has been working on this documentary for the past fifteen years. It is the best film on the subject I have seen, and will unquestionably stand as the definitive work for the future. The film is shot in a steely black and white; its monochromatic scheme is entirely apt and acts as a counterpoint to its subject. While many try to treat the topic as a simple question of right and wrong, Kaye goes out of his way to probe the complexities of the issue; there are many shades of grey to the debate. He gives time to both sides, and if his own viewpoint ultimately becomes clear, he scores no easy points at anyone’s expense. Interviewing a range of individuals – from fundamentalist Christians to professors of sociology, philosophy, and bioethics; from hardcore pro-lifers to equally impassioned pro-choice advocates – Kaye splices into what motivates both sides. It is in the grey areas that we find some of the most interesting commentary, much of which is provided by Noam Chomsky, who intelligently dissects the issue. Kaye also devotes time to nurses and doctors who have been threatened, some wounded or killed in attacks on their lives and clinics. This is not a film for the faint-hearted; be warned that there are graphic images of termination procedures and their aftermath. Kaye endeavours to show abortion’s physical and psychological reality – to make clear what exactly is at stake. Lake of Fire – the titles comes from one person’s description of what awaits abortionists in hell – is measured, intelligent and feels suitably objective regardless of one’s own position. A brave film, it will prompt serious debate.