6.7/10
49
3 user

The Ringer (1972)

Not Rated | | Short, Comedy | 1972 (USA)
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Short | Comedy

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Not Rated
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1972 (USA)  »

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Are you a Ringer?
23 March 2013 | by See all my reviews

This presents three different settings - though unlike Lieberman's use of this device in Blue Sunshine, here they are very clearly connected. Not in a physical sense, merely by virtue of their content being essentially the same. All are a group of grown-up to middle-aged men, mostly white, discussing how they will sell their specific product to youths - in spite of something obviously off-putting about it. This is done via Newspeak, using words to make the kids think they like it - not explaining away the negative aspect, no, redefining it as the opposite. As the running theme goes in this, "it's all about the marketing".

As you can probably figure out(and this is not a spoiler; the opening shows us a situation involving such not going as planned, in intense, disturbing, and worst of all, realistic, unflinching close-up; the unpleasant content, occasionally shown and always present in the tone, is the only thing that makes the 19 minute running time feel draining), this is, in part, about drugs. The other items to be peddled aren't dangerous, merely either worthless or ridiculous.

This leads to the obvious question: is this a propaganda piece? And the answer, in spite of the problem posed by substance abuse when this was made, is actually, "no". It's closer to being satire. We are never lied to about the effects of narcotics(it focuses on peer pressure, and thinking about what you're engaging in), it places equal blame on purely profit-minded Capitalists(if anyone can be called the "villains" of this, it would be them), and, frankly, watching this just over 40 years later, this is still going on.

I'm 26 as I write this, and I remember stupid fads when I was a kid... pogs, yo-yos, and other crap that I've wasted my parents' money on because I fell for ad campaigns. This is well-produced, with solid filming and editing. While the acting varies some, it's never downright bad.

I recommend this to anyone who wants or needs to look more critically at what we are buying - whether it's outright harmful, or merely pointless. 6/10


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