BBC2 documentary film maker Louis Theroux investigates the current situations of three US cities which, for varying reasons, have seen their current situations of deprivation intensify in recent years. Theroux analyses the long-lasting negative effects these catalysts of destruction have had on the citizens, the culture and the infastructure of these cities.Written by
Louis Theroux's method of making documentaries can sometimes seem to just spending time with unfortunate, obnoxious or just generally mis-fitting people, and pointing the camera at them. His own empathy, and/or discomfort, is included in the film, which adds a personal touch, but can give the impression that at the end of the day, whatever the nominal subject, it's all really about him. His miniseries 'Dark States', however, shows his method at his best, as he observes three dysfunctional slices of American life that may be rarely seen by many Americans, let alone Brits like Theroux. Collectively, they raise worrying questions about how individuals, and even whole communities, can fall through the cracks in society; and show how such people remain unambiguously human, even when their worlds take on a nightmarish quality. There are no easy answers here; but understanding the problems as problems of human beings, and not of some semi-human underclass, is surely a necessary foundation. But don't expect three cheery stories.
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