7.1/10
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Indoctrinate U (2007)

Documentary filmmaker Evan Coyne Maloney investigates political censorship at colleges and universities in the United States.

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Documentary filmmaker Evan Coyne Maloney investigates political censorship at colleges and universities in the United States.

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Our Education. Their Politics.

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28 September 2007 (USA)  »

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Questionable to Say the Least
20 May 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I watched the movie, Indoctrinate U, on recommendation of a friend, and I have to say I was excited, I like the subject matter. I feel the discussion of political as well as just the simple teacher-student power relationship is an interesting subject. Unfortunately, that was really the high point of the movie, my anticipation.

He uses techniques that only bad documentarians (see Michael Moore) use. These include but aren't limited to:

1. The attack interview - He sticks a mike and camera in people's faces and they are understandably flustered, you would be to if the banality of your day was interrupted in that manner. So using the footage as he does is questionable, at best.

2. He edits, a lot - The interviews are cut up, a lot. He actually cuts off a women describing why the university has a women's center, and not a men's center, mid-list. This is disingenuous as it seems as though, at least some of the time, the editor is shaping the interviewee's thoughts not the interviewee. I actually thought there was something wrong with my DVD, until I realized there were just that many edits.

3. He voices over - This sometimes can be used effectively, but Maloney doesn't seem to understand the power this gives him. Also, this is a sub-point, he represents the other-side of arguments. So he will be portraying someone, or thing, in a positive light and simply say the that whoever was on the other side of the argument says "this". The problem is that he rarely quotes and never has the people that are legitimately on the other side of the argument on screen. He more than once misconstrues an argument on the other side.

4. Way too much content - The director, oddly, chooses to talk about many, at least 8, different things. They are all on the same theme no doubt, and all interesting, but that is way too much for a movie, maybe enough for a mini-series. The effect of this is at no point in the movie do you feel you have a true understanding of an issue or event.

5. His warrants don't match his claims - He says, as the title says, that colleges are propagating liberal doctrine. Well, I think he quite successfully proved that some are trying to, but he never shows any statistical data that people leaving college are any more or less liberal than those entering. He doesn't prove that liberal professors have any effect on their students. Which to me seems like an easy point to make, so it's curiously missing from the movie.

6. What he talks about is skewed - All the discussion in the movie is based around very minute cases. So although many of the people were legitimately wronged, there is no evidence that this is a pervasive problem, only that these people had a poor experiences.

The problems in this movie are really simple. He should sit down and watch Errol Morris documentaries for days and he will see what a quality documentarian can do.

I'm giving this movie a poor grade because of his techniques not his statements.

Strictly for those interested in the subject matter, I wouldn't advise anyone to watch it though. 3/10


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