Saturday, 18 February 2012

Differing Documentaries

 Two documentaries that deal with America's foreign policy but in very different ways:

Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? (Morgan Spurlock, 2008)

Spurlock makes another personal documentary, this time using his hunt for Bin Laden as an excuse to travel to the Middle East showing us all how lovely Muslims really are.  And in one shocking sequence that is as one-sided as the rest of the film, how bloody miserable and horrible the Israeli’s Spurlock encounters are.  Using the impending birth of his first child as a ticking clock to give the doc some momentum, Spurlock rarely does any real hunting and instead uses his platform to show that the ordinary folk of Muslim countries don’t hate American people but just how their government behaves.  Surprisingly not as well-received as Super Size Me, this one is better and despite its stiflingly obvious agenda, more of a must-see.  Interestingly it ends with Spurlock not going in to Pakistan to continue his search for the elusive Bin Laden.  If only he’d known…

Why we Fight (Eugene Jarecki, 2005)

Documentary exploring the military-industrial complex using a famous speech of Eisenhower’s as a springboard to consider the need for ongoing war-mongering by a country that demands war to be business as usual.  Jarecki makes a straight-forward, hugely informative and engaging doc that needs not the now-more-conventional antics of a Spurlock or Moore to entertain the audience.  Definitely less amusing than anything thos guys have made though...

I have to say I'm a sucker for demanding entertainment value even from documentaries and despite Jarecki's film being sobering, more informative but just as biased, Spurlock's makes for more enjoyable viewing.  However Spurlock's on-camera shtick might grate with some and perhaps his appeal will wear off very quickly.  Therefore Jarecki must be applauded for taking the 'I' out of political documentary and just delivering a cold, hard look at the state of the most powerful nation on Earth.

If you are lucky enough to be a member of Lovefilm, these are both available for free streaming!

Anyone seen either of these?  As always, I metaphorically offer a penny for your thoughts...