Werner Herzog interviews hackers, roboticists, and the pioneers who created the Internet.
Directed by Werner Herzog
Initial Review by Jon Kissel
The iconic, unique, jack-of-all-trades Werner Herzog sets his sights on a topic as large as the Internet in Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World. If that seems like far too big a bite for any documentary to chew, then Herzog is right in line with the characters and real figures he likes to make movies about. Films like Fitzcarraldo, my personal Herzog favorite, find its protagonist dragging a steamship up steep jungle hills, all so he can corner the rubber market and, through a series of further wild-eyed steps, bring opera to South America. My favorite of his documentaries, Grizzly Man, is about an animal rights zealot convinced that his love for bears is shared by the bears themselves, until one eats him and his girlfriend. Herzog himself is the hubristic one in Lo and Behold, not for thinking he can master nature through sheer force of will like so many of his protagonists and subjects, but in thinking that he can wrap his arms around a subject so huge. It’s a move that makes for a film that barely surpasses the level of an unnecessary primer for technology that most people use every day, but big foolish steps are perfectly in keeping with Herzog’s career.
The War on Drugs began in 1971 when Richard Nixon went on television and announced that drug abuse was public enemy number one. As it turns out, the greatest enemy in the war on drugs may not be the drugs themselves, or maybe not even the people that perpetuate the buying and selling of these substances. Instead, perhaps the greatest enemy—for sure the greatest disservice to the people of North America—has been the stubborn over-simplification of an incredibly complex situation. The problem is organizationally complex; governmentally complex; and as this week’s film, “Cartel Land” shows, this ongoing (almost) 40 year war is as much a problem of the complexity of human nature as anything else.
I have a friend at work with the last name Patel. We’ve had lunch together, hung out on a couple weekends, and are familiar enough that if I ever leave my company, I think we’d stay in touch and still see each other a few times a year. He’s early 30’s and single. In short, his situation isn’t much different from Ravi’s.
Deadwood is easily my favorite TV show. I think it captured something deeply true about the American ethos and broader humanity, and since that show wrapped, I've been especially open to modern, revisionist Westerns. Not the cowboys and Indians type, but the morose, isolating, ultimately cynical type. Give me an Assassination of Jesse James or a Meek's Cutoff over anything starring John Wayne in chaps. Informed by Deadwood and the aforementioned movies, among others, the frontier becomes a place of unfulfilled promise, a dam with a shaky foundation that is fundamentally unable to hold back the forces that drove people to the frontier in the first place. The Overnighters lands firmly in that tradition, a real life boomtown with all the upheaval that comes with it. Pastor Reinke would find himself right at home in Deadwood with Al Swearengen and Joanie Stubbs.
JUST SOME IDIOTS GIVING SURPRISINGLY AVERAGE MOVIE REVIEWS.