I was intrigued with the concept of Erasing David – could someone living in the world’s third most surveilled country, just disappear and survive for a month without being found? It’s a concept that film maker (and star of the documentary) David Bond investigates in Erasing David. He starts off by employing private investigators Cerberus Investigations Limited to attempt to locate him, giving them a month to do so, then attempts to drop off the grid. Fortunately the documentary is a little more than just this, as the first thing Cerberus do is grab David’s garbage and discover his initial travel documents.
Spliced in with his life on the run from Cerberus, are a few different aspects of living in our modern, invasive society. David decided to enact the privacy act, requiring businesses to send him all the information he has on them. The amount of information he receives back from some companies is staggering to say the least.
David also interviews a couple of people who have been arrested for crimes they didn’t commit but have been linked to through identity theft, and proves the point that mud certainly does stick.
But the main focus, and the reason most people will be watching Erasing David is to see how long a clued up guy can evade two private investigators. Luckily Cerberus don’t have access to Britain’s massive array of CCTV cameras or facial recognition scanning, if they did, David would have been toast.
As it is however, David proves to be somewhat of an idiot in this modern day game of cat and mouse and anyone who has seen a handful of Hollywood films would be able to do a better job of evading Cerberus. But somehow he does manage to evade them for some time, even though he continues to use his Blackberry to check emails and access the web. David ends up getting very over the top paranoid for no real reason, and even begins stripping all his gear thinking Cerberus have planted bugs on him.
In the end, Erasing David ends up being a fascinating documentary, if not a very well produced one. With a very staged and inexplicably stupid ending, you may just end up wondering who was more inept, David Bond or the guys from Cerberus.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read