Warning: Totally Under Control will make the viewer frustrated, angry, and ultimately, sad. But you’ve got to see it.
Totally Under Control is a captivating documentary that clearly and concisely articulates, step-by-step, how the United States “dealt” with Covid19. At two hours and some minutes long, it’s difficult to watch. I had the luxury of being able to pause while I watched it—and at times boy did I need it.
Alex Gibney, Ophelia Harutyunyan, and Suzanne Hillinger combine talking heads with news reports, videos, social media – everything that one needs to follow the pandemic from inception to now. It’s amazingly current – it was completed the day before Trump tested positive. How it was edited and released in such a short period of time is nothing short of amazing.
Look, if you’re a Trump supporter, it’s not going to change your mind. For the rest of us, it confirms what we expected and more. Much, much more. It exposes the Food Drug and Administration’s inability to handle the testing kits in a timely manner. It documents the Trump administration’s cavalier attitude to the virus – from ignoring Obama’s pandemic playbook to the revolving door of medical professionals fired because they told the truth. The total inhumanity of a president who lies is just staggering.
There are so many many moments when Totally Under Control becomes overwhelming. The highlights, for me, are the ignored warnings and advice (Dr Eva Lee in particular); heart-breaking interviews with apolitical first-line responders who simply want to save lives (while endangering their own); the shock details from volunteer Max Kennedy Jnr engaged by Kuschner to find PPE equipment and medical supplies (!); the fact that Trump and mates have made millions in tax breaks (really? really? There’s a special place in Hades for them, I hope); senators angry and frustrated by their inability to make the government see the problems (Joseph Kennedy III Mass); whistleblowers (such as Dr. Bright) brought to tears at not being able to do their jobs and then being maligned and eventually replaced when they told the truth (this is their careers, for goodness sake). And of course, the facts, the overwhelming data that does not lie.
Man, just rewriting this review raises my blood pressure.
Perhaps the most telling moment is at the end: a clip from an interview with Bob Woodward recorded February 2020 in which Trump warns ”this is deadly stuff” as the film shows the hospital reality of dealing with “deadly stuff”.
“When the day comes and we can take off our masks, will we be ready to fix what’s broken?” asks Gibney at the end. Indeed, indeed.
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