Where in the World is Osama bin Laden?
And this time, he’s put aside the frivolities and is determined to do the one thing which has been haunting the Bush administration since September 11th, 2001….find Osama bin Laden.
Where in the World is Osama bin Laden? is fuelled by Spurlock’s desire as an impending father, to bring up his new born in a safer world what with the ever escalating problems of violent crime, prejudice and terrorism.
It’s a commendable – if naïve – attitude and one which every parent wants for their child.
But the problem with this doco is that the naivety soon starts to filter through into Spurlock’s movie.
Initially, there a few laughs as Spurlock undergoes terrorist resistance training, and from a mock computer game a la Street Fighter pitching him against bin Laden as well as the rather unforgettable image of Osama dancing to MC Hammer’s mega-hit U Can’t Touch This.
However, that soon dissipates as Spurlock, the first time father, leaves his girlfriend and heads to the Middle east to try and track down bin Laden. His research appears to be based mainly on hearsay and he targets Egypt, Afghanistan, Morocco, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia as places where your average Joe on the street believes the world’s most wanted man is.
Essentially, what he does (and at times appears to have set out to do) is to go on an OE at perhaps the most important time of his life (impending fatherhood) and simply talk to the Arabic people about their perception of Americans, American foreign policy and what they think of the world today.
Which is where the major problem of this film lies – it’s so naïve and innocent that it’s hard to believe anyone could take him seriously.
Along the way, granted, there are some humorous asides – such as Spurlock in a supermarket asking for food and where bin Laden is – but most of the time, he comes across as having lost the harsh, and at times slightly sinister, edge he gained in SuperSize Me.
I don’t know whether this doco is suited more to the Americans as a race and could be viewed by those who’re supremely pro war as propaganda for humanising the Middle East inhabitants.
Quite frankly, I am hard pressed to see how, in the 21st century, there are still people who believe that those unlike them are to be feared; maybe I have more tolerance and a better upbringing than I realise but all Spurlock wants people to realise when they leave the cinema is that many in the Middle East live in poverty and squalor like some pockets of Americans, and that many despise American foreign policy but can differentiate that from the American population.
It’s an extremely innocent view and one which I believe is severely out of kilter with the world – but you could argue that if Spurlock had to make the film in the first place, there is probably a portion of the population out there who still subscribe to that view.
Personally, I just can’t buy a movie from a first time father who disappears on his partner for a misguided OE – despite the cut shots of him pining for her, Spurlock’s lack of support at a critical time in any relationship is perhaps the greatest crime of this film.
Reviewed by: Keith John
Rated: M contains offensive language
Run Time: 93 minutes
Releases: 2 October, exclusively at Academy Cinemas