Friday, 15 August 2008

No.23 :Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden?

IMDb Link :

Porn moustached and burger eating documentary maker Morgan Spurlock returns to find the titular bad guy and explore the motivations of those who are happy to lay down their lives for his cause.

The film opens with Morgan’s somewhat spurious reasons for going on an Osama hunt. His partner is pregnant and he wants to see what kind of world he’s bringing a child into. The more likely motivations of needing the cash and escaping a pregnant partner are not touched upon.

As in his previous documentary a potentially dry subject is dressed up with fancy graphics and sound bites lifted from TV shows. We see Morgan as a stop motion animation running around and then as a video game character, taking on Osama ‘Tekken’ style. I felt these bits were a touch self aggrandizing, almost as if we should be chortling along as our good pal Morgan indulges himself. I wasn’t laughing and had more of a ‘what a self important prick’ kind of reaction.

The first part of the five part mission was the best as Morgan undergoes training to help in his mission. We learn how to deal with being kidnapped and how to survive a grenade attack. These sequences lead me into a false sense of security - I thought this would be a dangerous and exciting journey into the heart of darkness. But it wasn’t.

The next four sections are essentially the same as Morgan visits Egypt, Morocco, Afghanistan and Pakistan to ask the same questions and get the same shoulder shrugs in reply. To add a supposed element of humour Morgan dons full Arab dress and point blankedly asks scared locals of Osama’s whereabouts. Obviously they don’t know but we get a cheap laugh at intimidated foreigners, so that’s OK.

As the film draws to a close Morgan approaches the point of no return - will he enter Pakistan’s notorious tribal region to seek his quarry or will he scarper off home, having learned nothing?

It’s the second one.

This was a wasted 90 minutes for the viewer and a wasted opportunity. Morgan had cracking access to the military and the higher echelons of middle eastern government but delivered a puff piece that may serve well as a home movie for the Spurlock clan but no one else. His conclusion that we should win the “hearts and minds” of the people rather than pointlessly pursue terrorists was a real revelation - in 2004 when the US military appropriated the term.

Obviously he was never going to find Bin Laden, but so half hearted was this attempt that he’d of had as much success looking for him in his fridge and save us all some bother in the process.

Best Bit :Tough guy training school

‘W’ Rating : 9/23

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