WHERE IN THE WORLD IS OSAMA BIN LADEN? (***1/2) - Starring Morgan Spurlock.
Written & directed by Morgan Spurlock.
The War on Terror for Dummies. Cliff Notes of the Middle East for the junior high students across America. Fine with me.
Spurlock is like Michael Moore without the one-sidedness. He had his first hit with Super-Size Me, and his FX show 30 Days has decent ratings. He's a red-state guy who can just turn on a camera and see where it takes him. He also can't resist side theatrics. I would have liked to see less cartoon graphics to make his point and more of him talking to people on camera.
Ignoring the contrived set-up and silliness of showing Spurlock vs. Osama in a Tekken-type video game, the movie really begins once Spurlock touches down on foreign. We see him interview people in Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Pakistan. In other words, some of the scariest places in the world for an American to travel. I'm a bit surprised he couldn't make it to Iran.
The running theme with most of the countries is that the people there like the American people but hate the American government, and while many are mad at Osama bin Laden, many are more upset with the sloppy, violent reaction and overreach of the U.S. One Palestinian man made a good point when he said one fifth of the world is Muslim; we can't afford to have the other four-fifths hate us and afraid we want to kill them all. Spurlock also interviews a Muslim shiek who preached they will fill graveyards with Christians and he's looking forward to the day that all Muslims unite and declare war on all the Christians and Jews of the world.
I also found it interesting how the Palestinians were pretty cordial with him whereas in Israel the people there got violent, gathered a mob, shoving him and his crew to where they needed a police escort to get out of there. I feared for his safety, as I'm sure he did.
In the end *spoiler alert*, he doesn't find bin Laden. He gets to a sign in Pakistan where in big red letters it says "No Foreigners Allowed Past This Point." In a region where the Taliban is still thriving, he knew his chance of getting kidnapped or killed would increase dramatically if he crossed that point. And he has a pregnant wife at home.
So even if bin Laden is captured or killed, the movie makes a decent case that it really wouldn't change much. The U.S. government is still seen as evil in sizable chunks of the world. Whether it's Obama-Biden or McCain-Palin in November, they have their work cut out for them.