Monday, November 03, 2008

Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden

Over There!

If this movie knows where he is, there'll be international headlines made, and the filmmakers will get that US$25 million (or more?) bounty that is placed on his head. Of course it will be silly to presume that this film can find the answers to the multi-million dollar question, or even come close to it, so just what was the intention?

Morgan Spurlock isn't new to controversy, having burst onto the documentary scene with his real life gorging on MacDonald's for every meal in order to drive home the point that junk food really does junk your well being. So for this new film of his, it stems from his desire to seek out the world's #1 wanted man, and ask him just what floats his boat. He may be putting on his jester cap with his somewhat hilarious introduction, but looking at the preparation with vaccination and even attending some terrorism survival course, he's quite dead set in his mission to find that elusive man.

Until of course you realize that he's hitting all the relative safe havens for the most part, before venturing into the more likely places in Afghanistan and Pakistan. But what he seeks to unearth is the Middle East's attitudes towards Americans, and it seems that the common consensus is that while they have nothing against the people, almost everyone that Spurlock chose to showcase, has issues with the foreign policies. And from interviews with the average Joes, they sure have issues with politics at home more than those that are from abroad. Spurlock also takes opportunity to slam the US foreign policy, and does so through a hilarious animated sequence involving Uncle Sam and the Statue of Liberty herself, in what would be a realistic case of sleeping with the wrong bedfellows.

Bringing the camera from Morocco to Saudi Arabia, and interview people from both the state of Palestine and Israel, what he had presented were compelling arguments for and against, as well as plenty of moderate views that seek to debunk the bulk of western media who find delight in demonizing those in the Middle East. Through the looking glass peering at their everyday lives, the film comes to present the basic need for survival and providing for one's family, no matter one's geography, country, religion and culture. Naturally there were some feathers ruffled, especially when dealing with closed cultures who clam up, or intolerant folks who have no qualms in using violence, but in general, this documentary serves to be rather tame.

Yes it's gimmicky in its title, and half the time you're not sure whether Morgan Spurlock will take that plunge and really head to where he will likely find some inkling of positive leads, but what it had presented instead, is something more powerful that this world really needs to reach out and have everyone taking a more tolerant attitude and to understand one another a lot more, to avoid conflict. This should be a world without strangers, and the documentary managed to show just a glimmer of that hope.

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