Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Shock Doctrine (2009 film)

Based on the novel by Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine is a documentary about how economists get involved in creating free-market economies all over the world and the effects it would have. Directed by Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross, the documentary explores the world of capitalism and how it would take advantages of situations from wars, coups, and all sorts of things until the 2008 economic crisis in the U.S. where its methods would finally burst. The result is an eerie yet compelling documentary from Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross.

The documentary is essentially a look into Naomi Klein’s book about Milton Friedman’s controversial free-market policies that were utilized in the second half of the 20th Century to the 2000s. Through Friedman’s work as a professor in the University of Chicago with fellow associates and the experimental shock therapy of Ewen Cameron in the early 1950s. Friedman would utilize a tactic that would shape economies through disasters, wars, and other events. This experiment would be used following Salvador Allende’s victory in the early 1970s in Chile as it would lead to the coup of 1973 by Augustus Pinochet and later the coup in Argentina. Through Kieran O’Brien’s narration, Klein delves into these shocking tactics on her lectures while revealing how Friedman would be useful during the 1980s when Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were the leaders at the time.

Attempts to infuse Friedman’s ideas in Eastern Europe were tried during the fall of communism only for things to not go well at first. Then came the post-9/11 era where George W. Bush and defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld would try to profit from the war on terror by attacking Iraq and Afghanistan as Klein believed their methods are similar to what happened in Chile in the 1970s. Then comes the 2008 economic crisis where things definitely went out of control as Klein believed the failure of Friedman’s free-market ideals are among the reasons why Barack Obama won the 2008 Presidential election. What is revealed are some very chilling revelations into how far the U.S. government is willing to be involved in coups and disasters in order to profit from these events.

Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross interview various economists and historians about Friedman’s tactics along footage that features Klein’s lectures and travels that relates to the subject matter. With the help of co-editor Paul Monaghan and sound designer Joakim Sundstrom, Winterbottom and Whitecross also use archival footage dating back to the 1930s to explore the history of economic collapse and how Franklin Delano Roosevelt would use the New Deal to ensure hope in the American people and make sure they’re employed following the 1929 market crash.

This would lead to Friedman creating to his own ideas as it would have some serious repercussions on the world. Along with some animated sequences by Mark Knapton and Gus Martinez, the film also reveals the kind of profit’s the U.S. would have in these incidents including the war in Iraq where contractors would get lots of money for their service. With music pieces from Michael Nyman and Carter Burwell, the film also plays into the downside of these policies where people would disappear, be killed, or suffer something that would have them be disoriented and lost. The overall work is truly terrifying in the way it reveals how economists would try to profit from everything in order to please their government.

The Shock Doctrine is a mesmerizing yet harrowing documentary from Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross about disaster-based economic policies. While it’s a film that definitely raises a lot of questions about Mitchell Friedman’s economic policies, it also reveals the roles that government will do to prosper. While it’s not an easy film to watch, The Shock Doctrine is still a very captivating documentary from Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross.

Michael Winterbottom Films: (Rosie the Great) - (Forget About Me) - (Under the Sun) - (Love Lies Bleeding) - (Family (1993 TV film)) - (Butterfly Kiss) - (Go Now) - (Jude) - Welcome to Sarajevo - I Want You - (With or Without You (1998 film)) - Wonderland (1999 film) - The Claim - 24 Hour Party People - In This World - Code 46 - 9 Songs - Tristram Shandy: A Cock & Bull Story - The Road to Guantanamo - A Mighty Heart - Genova - The Killer Inside Me - The Trip (2010 film) - (Trishna) - (Everyday) - The Look of Love - (The Trip to Italy) - (The Face of an Angel)

© thevoid99 2012

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