When Claude Got Shot: SXSW Review

When Claude Got Shot

Claude Motley was studying at law school and was weeks away from his bar exam when he was carjacked. Claude knew the risks, but thinking about his wife and family he drove away and the person who held him up fired his gun at his car.

Unfortunately for Claude, it also hit him in the face and fractured his jaw. In the hospital despite his injuries, Claude was also treated like a perpetrator, but once he got out of hospital, he was able to identify the person who shot him. Also, because of his belief in the law, Claude wanted to see the young man brought to justice.

However, Nathan King was the person who shot him, a 15-year-old boy and it was his first offence. Not only that, but after a second incident Nathan was shot in the back which left him paralysed from the waist down.



When Claude Got Shot is a documentary about a single case where a man got shot and the difficulties that people from all sides have to go through when dealing with the criminal justice system in America.

What starts out as a seemingly straightforward documentary about gun control in America starts to go much deeper as it concentrates on its subjects. Issues such as Nathan’s life changing injury in the face of self-defence and Claude’s treatment in the hospital are raised, but not for very long as the documentary goes into intricate detail about this one case.

Everything from Claude’s time in hospital, the trial and the aftermath are all dealt with, showing all sides from Claude’s family to Nathan’s mother. There are even times when the court system itself is shown to be biased against a certain type of person.

The assumptions are that because Claude is a man going to law school and that Nathan lives in a single parent family that Nathan must have had a bad upbringing. It’s just a coincidence that they both happen to be black. However, looking deeper into Claude’s own life, When Claude Got Shot shows that the choices people make are what defines them.


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Joel found out that he had a talent for absorbing film trivia at a young age. Ever since then he has probably watched more films than the average human being, not because he has no filter but because it’s one of the most enjoyable, fulfilling and enriching experiences that a person can have. He also has a weak spot for bad sci-fi/horror movies because he is a huge geek and doesn’t care who knows it.