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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Takes a few minor tales but does little with them

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
30 October 2006

At a time when most Americans were recovering from the shock of the 2001 attack on the World Trade Centre some people saw an opportunity to make money. Some of them were those with shares in the arms and oil industries but others were just normal people. This documentary looks at several people who tried to claim that their partners had died as the buildings fell down, looking at the impact they had on their families and communities and in some cases talking to the people themselves to find out their motivations.

It is probably best if I get my line about Bush and Blair out of the way early in the review so that we can all concentrate on the documentary. I say this because the title did make me think if a handful of people committing fraud (some for as little as £600) was better or worse than Blair misleading Parliament and leading the UK into Iraq and the death of thousands and thousands of civilians but I quickly put these thoughts aside because, although a minor trifle, the documentary is about these smaller frauds. As such it is car crash television as we are told about four or five specific attempts at fraud by claiming deaths in the towers that never happened. The novelty of these stories is just about enough to hold the interest for a while but the documentary doesn't mane to get below the surface of the subject and just sticks to telling the stories. The biggest example of this failure is the way the makers get access to the two main subjects of the film (who got 10 years in prison each for their trouble) but yet fail to draw anything of interest out of them – in fact they are so soft of these fraudsters that if you only watched their segments you would think they were the victims! Although this is a problem, the film does help itself by having some good contributions from a couple of people. Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine says the obvious but does it well but the film is at its most interesting when Shiya Ribowsky is on. His explanation of the process of identifying remains is at least interesting even if it is basic; at one point he talks about what he tells families when asked about the cause of death and he tells them to imagine a blender with tissue and bricks in it, run the blender for a few minutes and this is apparently what you had at the end – maybe true but hardly the most sensitive thing to say to the grieving!

Overall then this is a so-so documentary at best. It tells a story in a workmanlike that just about fills the 45 minutes but really it doesn't do much with the subject and even with access to two of the fraudsters gets nothing out of it! First screened during the week of the 5 year anniversary of the attacks it is perhaps ironic that the makers of this film are pointing fingers at others for using the attack to their own ends. Worth a glance but no more than that.

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