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  • Starting with the development of shock treatment methods in the 1950's by the CIA as part of breaking prisoners down and holding them in a state of shock, this film extends the idea of people being vulnerable when in a state of shock. Dealing with an economists theory that governments should use natural disasters to immediately launch unpopular policies and programmes while the populace is still in shock, thus less able to react or challenge them.

    Interesting short film this one with the appeal for me being that it was directed by the director of Children of Men. Using animation and stock footage, the film presents its theory in an entertaining and accessible way. The images are well chosen, avoiding showing us real horror for the sake of it but leaving us in no doubt about what we are seeing and what it means. The case it makes it not that strong though and this is probably where it falls down. Liberals will probably lap it up, while those on the flip side of that political coin will dismiss it out of hand as yet more pinko conspiracy theories – the material isn't robust enough to break through that wall of cynicism.

    The connections between CIA torture methodology and political and economic decisions feels a bit forced. In a way the theory is correct but just because one man drew it from this source doesn't mean that it comes from there. I remember in the days after 11th September 2001 that there was a bit of fuss in the media about a Labour spin doctor who had sent an email (that leaked) to colleagues saying that now was a good time to get bad news out – this does not mean that she had studied CIA torture methods, just that she knew that even a 50% tax increase would end up on page 18 of The Times. It did feel a little like the film was trying to push an agenda that capitalism comes from torture and connect those two things in our minds and there wasn't enough evidence to convince me otherwise.

    There was, however, probably enough about it to make me (as a bit of a liberal) check out Klein's book to see what there is to this idea beyond a 6 minute short film. For the film though, despite being well made and slickly presented, I felt that the material let it down, with too many sweeping conclusions presented as fact and not enough time to do a good enough job to make the cynics doubt themselves for even a second.
  • Hitchcoc25 July 2019
    This presents some disquieting images. I've known two people who had shock treatment. They were shadows of their former selves. I would need a lot more evidence of the manipulation of populations in times of crisis. Perhaps it's true, but this film only implies it. Yes, we are vulnerable at these events, but are leaders actually taking advantage at such a remarkable rate.
  • As a film lover, the first question regarding this film is what should we make of it: a short? an advertisement to a web site? a raising awareness clip? Maybe if the director was more anonymous, this would definitely fall between the second and the third. But i will consider that Cuarón will have cinematic ambitions in any thing that he puts his mind into. And actually what he tries here is something quite interesting, and it has been achieved with unbeatable perfection 20 years ago, by Jorge Furtado.

    This is a short film which, in order to work, has to obey to publicity rules. So, it has a necessarily short message, which has to strike the viewer and stay with him, and leave absolutely no doubts what so ever about what the filmmakers intend to pass. Here that message is simplified to the very minimum, since it is expected that we look for the site, and Naomi Klein's writings after we see it. So i guess after all this is a commercial.

    What problems do we have? It goes straight to the point, perhaps to straight. Everything is delivered to us without the minimum concern about whether we'll buy it or if we have the grounds to believe it. Listen, i enjoy Naomi. Maybe she pushes a little bit too much on the conspiracy side, which always makes me suspicious - i build conspiracy theories against conspiracy theorists. But generally speaking, i think she's a lucid person and her ideas are fundamentally honest, i quite frankly, probably very close to the truth. But here in the short, we are supposed to buy everything that is told to us, without making us reasoning about it for a single second. It is an anti capitalism product which works with the same tools as the capitalism system. It is what it is against. Now, i would be willing to believe that 6,5 minutes are not enough to establish a theory, or to convince me to believe it, but in 1989 Jorge Furtado built one with 13 minutes. Watch that film. It is perfect, it is credible, every line, every opinion is given to us, and supported by surrounding concepts. It reasons with us, and appeals to our senses in the process, it's perfectly balanced. But than again, Furtado was a publicity maker, not a filmmaker, he was experienced in compressing messages.

    This won't fully disappoint you, but watch "Ilha das Flores" to have this one done perfectly.

    My opinion: 3/5
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "The Shock Doctrine" is at under 7 minutes a really short documentary from 2007 and usually you don't find documentaries this short if we cut out the very old ones from Méliès and others. This one is probably less known for writer Naomi Klein, who also narrates this introduction to her book, but because it was written by Alfonso Cuarón and directed by his son Jonas. There are some slightly disturbing images in here there is no denying, so if you cannot deal with these, then skip the watch, but other than that, it is a good movie in my opinion. What we see fits well together with what we hear I must say and it is nicely explained and the conclusions and elaboration seem to be fitting. It is an interesting topic too I guess and if I was more of an avid reader, then I'd perhaps give it a go. But yeah, you can fit in only so much in under 10 minutes. Greatness is definitely not achieved and I am also a bit surprised by Cuarón being attached to this project subject-wise, but good for him I guess and also for Klein as these days with him being a Best Director Oscar winner, probably soon a 2-time Best Director Oscar winner, it would become more difficult to get him involved here. A good watch overall, probably better for those interested in the subject beforehand already than for Cuarón completionists. Go see it.
  • One would expect a great film documentary to be based, first and foremost, on a great book. But IMHO not in this case! The book starts out well with some solid factual data so as to gain some credibility then goes down hill from there. The book is not well organized, lacks brevity and clarity and is quite frankly a confusing and very hard read......Arguments in favour of reconfiguring evil capitalism into something better falls flat on its face.

    The artery of death comment is just one of several examples of hyperbole..... and over the top claims about catastrophic climate change etc.

    In view of the recent epic failures of wind and solar alternative energy offerings in Germany, the author leave no room for reasonable alternatives to petroleum and coal based economies. This is not surprising since her scientific knowledge does not appear to extend much beyond high school level. And BTW according to my data source, this author failed to complete a college or University education. So the question is..... How did this author make it this far? Well for one thing...... she arranged for the "Occupy Wall Street protesters to immediately align with a proposed Keystone XL protest at the National Mall in Washington DC. So the optics looked very good for mainstream media coverage which in turn had a powerful impact on voter perception and in turn key political decisions made at the White House.

    But rest assured, the book on which this documentary is based will get rave reviews by those in the "Occupy Wall Street" movement as well as the scientifically illiterate eco-environmentalist!