Loses it's power as a documentary by being too basic and elementary
STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning ** Sunday Night * Monday Morning
After a UN report was published linking minerals used in mobile phones to financing of a bloody, brutal fifteen year war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Frank Piasechi Poulsen was unable to sleep with knowing this may be true of his beloved Nokia phone and so set on a mission taking him to conferences held in his native Denmark, to the mines in Walikalie where various militia groups control day to day life and boys as young as fourteen are sent down in risky conditions in the mines to risk their lives for a pittance, to a campaign group in the United States, all the way to Nokia's head office in Finland to get to the bottom of whether it is aware of unethical practises and whether it's 'socially responsible' image is really a sham.
It's a scary but eerily true (and something we're all too aware of, if we're honest) fact that most of the material goods we're accustomed to and even depend upon in this day and age have almost certainly been manufactured and appropriated off the back of the exploitation of people in the poorest corners of the world, from mobile phones to the laptop I'm writing this review on now, and guiltily most of us turn a blind eye to this, desiring as we do the latest gadgets and gizmos. But Frank Piasechi Poulsen would appear to be so troubled at the thought of his phone being a 'blood mobile', he took a round the world trip in search of the answer. And what he's ended up with is this well intentioned but amateurish and basic, straight out documentary.
From the off set, it seems less of an investigation into 'whether there is a link between the sale of mobile phones and the war in Congo' and more of a straight out statement, which Poulsen seems to just repeatedly go over and over, taking his time to really start digging into whether this is true, where it goes on and delivering facts and figures relevant to his project. It does serve as an eye opener to what really goes on, as we see the workers going down into the mines in terrible, unsafe conditions and hear tales of guerrilla soldiers committing atrocities against people, but Poulsen seems convinced from the out set that 'yes, the biggest mobile phone company in the world is guilty' and this ends up feeling like propaganda for this assertion.
This is obviously a fairly cheap, low budget effort that Poulsen put his neck on the line to make and wanted the world to wake up and see. If only it had delved a little deeper into what goes on and not just hammered the basic, simplistic 'the minerals in the phones are financing the war in Congo' message, which just leaves it with a cheap, amateurish feel. **
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