Great for the choir but not good enough to convince the unsure which is what I would have liked it to do
It is probably best that I hold my hands up from the start and say that, in regards this film I am a member of choir. I am pretty liberal but on the subject of terrorism legislation I do think I have a right to an opinion because of my experiences as a Northern Irish man in England. I note that some critics of this film have criticised it for the way that it does paint things in a very bad light and, while I agree to a point, I do also think that there is a certain amount of "it'll never happen to me" thinking, similar to the "if you have nothing to hide what is the problem" school of thought. However having been arrested and held for being on the same street as Prince Charles would later visit that same day (after several court appearances, the charges were thrown out). So I do have a certain amount of sympathy with those that fear being wrongly targeted by those given the powers to do so if they wish.
However I must be careful not to let me agreeing with the politics of the film totally cloud my view on it because, as much as I agree with it, it is not that great a documentary. It is too simplistic in some regards and it just seems to throw examples at the screen in the aim of hitting the audience with so much stuff it has no time to digest, consider or reflect. The strongest documentaries build their case and let you come along with them to the point where you find it hard to disagree; those films that simply dollop it out are doing the audience a disservice and tend to be those that fail to win over anyone other than those who already agree with the message. So it is here and it is a real shame because moment by moment it is compelling stuff. While nowhere near the degree where we cower in our homes after curfew, liberties are being squeezed and the many examples make it hard to ignore as an issue. However it doesn't pull it together in a focused fashion and ultimately seems to think the point will just make itself. The rather rebellious tone suits some of the material but at times goes too far and again makes this a film "for the audience" the closing song is the most extreme example of this and quite unnecessary.
It is a shame it is not better because it is an important topic but, while it is compelling stuff, the failure to really deliver a killer argument or a strong structure is its undoing in regards winning the hearts of the undecided viewer. Goes without saying that, for the choir, it is great stuff, but I wanted it to do more than just tick the target audience box.
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