WHERE IN THE WORLD IS OSAMA BIN LADEN
Morgan Spurlock visits the Middle East asking anyone he meets for the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden - he even looks him up the local telephone directory. In the process, he meets man and women, Muslims and Jews, old and young - and even gets to fire a shoulder held rocket launcher just for fun. As for bin Laden, he learns the man has as many detractors as he has fans.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
The jokey tone of the title can be misleading; our expectations begin to build for a politically spiked doco in which gonzo doco maker Morgan Spurlock tracks down the world's most wanted terrorist - and in the process, fires off salvos at US foreign policy, inept and morally wayward US administration and bags the scalp of the moral high ground. But Morgan surprises us; unlike his strident peer Michael Moore, Morgan does not set out with prepared agenda which he has to (somehow, anyhow) prove. Morgan goes out into the big bad, wide world as the naïve and innocent everyman, asking the question of the title, but actually posing more complex issues - which address the human condition.
In the process, he brings back to Americans a much more textured, nuanced and real snapshot of people otherwise simply labelled as Muslims or Middle Easterners. It may seem to some that his findings are exactly what we would expect; but not so for a country in which only 1 in 4 adults has a passport and whose world view is formed by the combo of a shallow media and a deep fried take away.
He meets resistance (almost everywhere) and open hostility (in Tel Aviv), he finds ignorance (everywhere) and intolerance (almost everywhere), but he also finds a universal desire for peace and calm, for children to grow up educated and healthy. He gives us an insight into our world from a simple - but not simplistic - point of view, and his honesty helps us make a connection. He also shows us the key moments of his discussions with his pregnant wife, Alex, who had to approve the trip. Oh yes, he also shows us Morgan enjoying the boyish fantasies of firing guns at a practice range in Afghanistan - including a shoulder mounted rocket launcher.
Morgan's achievement in hitting and maintaining the right tone in a film that is as much a guerrilla exercise as a social revolution. As a pregnant father, he wants to find how other fathers in the world feel and think. He asks naïve questions - which is why he becomes our eyes and ears. Morgan is not a heavyweight political journalist froma major US network, nor is he a politician, nor is he putting himself forward as the guy who'll find the answers - or bin Laden. These elements draw us into his sincere questioning world and make us fellow travellers.
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MORGAN SPURLOCK INTERVIEW
WHERE IN THE WORLD IS OSAMA BIN LADEN (M)
CAST: Documentary featuring Morgan Spurlock
NARRATION: Morgan Spurlock
PRODUCER: Morgan Spurlock
DIRECTOR: Morgan Spurlock
SCRIPT: Morgan Spurlock, Jeremy Chilnik
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Daniel Marracino
EDITOR: Gavin Coleman, Julie Bob Lombardi
MUSIC: Not credited
PRODUCTION DESIGN: n/a
RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Icon
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 14, 2008