Video Librarian | The Red Tail


VIDEO LIBRARIAN: The Video Review Magazine for Libraries
September-October 2010

The Red Tail (Three Stars)
At first portending to be a heartfelt home movie, The Red Tail gradually develops into a sneakily insightful study of the insidiously far-reaching effects of globalization on unionized labor around the world. Co-directed by Dawn Mikkelson and Melissa Koch, the film focuses on Koch’s father, Roy – a mechanic with Northwest Airlines, a company planning to lay off much of its Twin Cities maintenance workforce in favor of a less expensive alternative in Hong Kong. The documentary initially follows Roy as he leads a strike against the firm he’s worked for since the early 1980s, but its most important revelations occur when the laid-off Roy and Melissa visit Hong Kong to find out who’s actually doing his old job. During a seemingly routine interview with a Northwest exec, they learn that the outsourcing thread is stretching beyond Hong Kong to the cheap-labor capital of the world: mainland China. And in a disturbing development, statistics are beginning to show a frightening trend – Northwest planes suddenly are making 18 emergency landings a year, whereas the average used to be less than one. The Red Tail leaves viewers with a menacingly real sense of the future under globalization: CEOs outsourcing an increasing number of jobs to ensure generous salaries for themselves and skyrocketing dividends for stockholders – all while the middle class recedes into service-industry peasantry. Recommended. Aud: C, P. (M. Sandlin)