As a cinephile but a novice in the documentary genre, I came into this movie knowing little of what to expect. What i found was a film which was very clearly made with much passion. The film sets out to criticize the Australian refugee policies as people seek to immigrate there from various countries. These people are unaware that Australia is far from the accepting and liberal environment in which they thought, and are met with government workers who send them to detention centers. Refugees are currently a rather hot topic, and I was worried that I would learn little from this film that i hadn't already read, heard on the news, or consumed elsewhere. Fortunately i found that the film was focused on the life within the detention center which i knew nothing of and found the experience relatively original and quite emotionally draining. Looking around the theatre at TIFF it wasn't uncommon to see tear's being shed at the emotional moments of the film; moment which to my surprise, i didn't find overly melodramatic. They felt real. When the film zero's in upon the specific affects which these detention centre's have, such as extreme depression and self harm, the film was quite captivating, and even surprising at time. The extent of these psychological impacts can be quite brutal and the way they are easily dismissed by the Australian politician's is very interesting. A great interview with the late former Prime Minister of Australia was a specific highlight. The film may have slight flaws however. Many interviews with Australian politician's are cut short, feeling as if the documentary didn't really want you to know everything they had to say. The scenes interviewing parents of victims who died feel too long. They have little of interest to say, although a more sentimental man than myself may disagree. The film also ends with a grand list of people who refused to be interviewed. Its simply unfortunate that their opinions can not be explored. Some Michael Moore style showing up at their door would have been intriguing. These complaints mean little however for the interviews which were shared on camera were very meaningful in their own way. I truly hope this documentary can stir up some extra controversy around this topic for change really needs to happen.
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