Corruption, assassination and street rioting surround the story of the award-winning film, Power Trip, which follows an American multi-national trying to solve the electricity crisis in ... See full summary »
Corruption, assassination and street rioting surround the story of the award-winning film, Power Trip, which follows an American multi-national trying to solve the electricity crisis in Tbilisi, capital of the former Soviet Republic of Georgia. Power Trip provides insight into today's headlines, with a graphic, on-the-ground depiction of the challenges facing globalization in an environment of culture clash, electricity disconnections and blackouts. Written by
Interesting but flawed documentary that suffers from the proximity it has to AES
This film looks at the challenges associated with trying to take a country with no money, corruption and an aged, collapsing infrastructure and make it function as a "proper" country. It looks at this by using the provision of electricity within Georgia by American company AES as an example. The end result is a rather mixed film that enlightens on the wider subject while never really getting a handle on it.
Part of the problem is that the film sits too closely to the couple of people it knows within AES. Why it does this is perhaps understandable the connection between director Devlin and AES employee Piers Lewis they speak English, they are amusing/interesting characters, they provided access that the other groups did not etc; but the outcome is that the film does appear to be very much on the AES side of the table and that perhaps too much of the film is being presented with a sense of "good feeling" towards AES that other groups are not rewarded. Had the film spent less time hanging out with Lewis and the specific frustrations of AES then maybe it could have done better, but at times the film feels like it easily could have been sponsored by AES. This isn't helped by the fact that the film nary has a bad word to say about AES not even when the management brags about shutting off power to an airport while a plane was coming in to land.
Despite this failing (and it is a failing) though, the film is still very interesting in the bigger picture and whenever it has scenes where AES are just one of many players in the story then the subject comes through that is the challenge of what they are trying to do. Here is where the film should have spent more time but surprisingly things like specific acts of murder and corruption are just mentioned rather than explored or discussed. Compare this to the amount of time we get to spend with AES looking at unsafe or damaged electrical equipment and you do get the feeling that Devlin is missing the bigger picture.
As a short film for a viewer taking a first look at Georgia then it is interesting enough in the sweep that the irritations in the detail can be mostly forgiven but it does seem that Devlin is pulled in his delivery. He was drawn to this story via Lewis and did set out specifically to look at the experience of AES trying to do what they do, however where he sees the bigger picture he knows he should focus on that by way of AES as a device but yet always seems hesitant to do so. Overall then this is an interesting film that could easily have been twice as long and still engage but I do not think Devlin is the man to tell it and I think the proximity to AES that initially helps him ultimately hinders the development and delivery of the film.
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