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Monday, April 21, 2008

where in the world is osama bin laden?

Just saw the film last night, and while it wasn’t the greatest documentary or (spoiler alert) a completely successful quest, it succeeded in giving a new, fresher perspective to Middle East questions. Where most works on this topic center on foreign policy, military operations, or mass statements, director Morgan Spurlock (the same who directed Super Size Me) talks to typical, average people in a multitude of environments ranging from Morocco to Egypt to Pakistan.

The film’s opening moments, while funny, are a little weak. Morgan has just found out that his wife is pregnant and is consequently begun worrying about safety. So he decides to take this worry the furthest it can go: he will try to track down Osama. This emotional sentiment, while compelling, mostly made me wonder why he is trekking to all these dangerous places when he could be at home not missing everything. But as Spurlock moves from country to country, the tone quickly shifts, becoming more penetrating with each new person he meets. Whether talking to Afghans in the desert, Jews and Palestinians near Gaza or a whole host of Pakistanis and Egyptians, these are not the people we see giving wild denunciations in the midst of chaos on CNN. In fact, more than a few of them are no different than us. Only culture separates things. They do denounce, for sure, but they also give answers that we often give, and that also force you as the viewer to see the differences between the individual and the state. In the end, we see that the moderate voice has been lost amid the explosions and rockets over religion and land.

While not the most overtly powerful film on the subject, its quiet buildup replaces irrationality with a growing understanding of humanity and the human condition, and should be taken in at a theater near you.


comoprozac said...

Although I often find his perspective problematic, I do appreciate Spurlock's choices of material to film.

don said...

i'm fucking scared of hasidic jews now