Totally Under Control (2020)

From a non-American perspective, I often have to fight off the temptation to laugh at America’s epically incompetent response to the COVID-19 pandemic. I mean, it would be funny were it not for the atrocious, abominable death toll that continues to rise across the nation, and the economic and psychological devastation it continues to take on the working classes. Directors Alex Gibney, Ophelia Harutyunyan and Suzanne Hillinger’s deep dive into the lies, deception, propaganda, corruption and sheer indifference of the Trump administration in the face of the pandemic has the unfortunate tendency to go quickly through various important moments throughout the spread of the pandemic in an effort to get to its main thesis, but even so, what is there is absolutely galling to watch. It’s almost impossible to watch the movie without feeling your blood boil, as various talking heads (from former administration members to medical professionals to volunteers, etc) contribute a variety of well-articulated, supported arguments that underline their frustration at the bureaucratic chicanery that led to a bottleneck of inaction that has a continuing, never-abating toll on human life, all the while the Trump administration continues to focus solely on the whims of dangerously ignorant, deeply untrustworthy leadership. I have a feeling there will be a series of similarly-themed documentaries over the next few years analyzing the incompetence of the Trump’s administration response that will introduce new and ever-shocking instances of naked, unadulterated greed, but this is a good way to make the streamline the subject matter in a palatable manner.

Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)

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