Unseen Enemy (2017)

  |  Documentary

Unseen Enemy (2017) Poster

Unseen Enemy is a feature-length documentary about the threat of epidemics in the 21st century and what we can do to fight them.

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19 March 2019 | mingsphinx
| Pandemics are optional?
Put it down to a morbid interest in epidemics, but there was no material in this documentary I had not seen or heard before. The interviews were for most part good and I definitely enjoyed watching Dr. Moses (front line medical professional during Liberia's Ebola outbreak) say his piece, but the underlying message of needing to do more to prevent future outbreaks is actually quite illogical. How do you prevent something when you do not know what is coming down the pike? It did not help that the person they chose to hammer home the message was Peter Sands (former CEO of Standard Chartered). If Hong Kong had known that SARS was going to be a risk, do you not think that they would have done something about it? But they did not and could not have known that an outbreak of the then novel SARS virus was going to occur.

The filmmakers want to drive the point that prevention is a lot cheaper than treatment, but offer no real suggestion as to how prevention is possible or what might be done to prepare for a pandemic. Aside from giving more money and resources to public health professionals who obviously have a vested interest in promoting the idea that prevention is possible, what else do we do?

Much of the documentary is quite preachy, like the stuff on climate change. But production value was often decent and they did manage to get some of the biggest names in the field of public health to give interviews. So despite the fact that it was mostly boring and not insightful, I have given this a 5 star rating. You will not be entertained and unless you know nothing about the outbreaks of recent years, you will not learn much from watching this film.

They made a movie on an important topic that is not likely to have any impact whatsoever on public discourse. Really, a wasted opportunity.

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