Thursday, 29 October 2009

Review: Starsuckers

Year: 2009
Director: Chris Akins
Screenplay: Chris Akins

My last excursion to the London Film festival was Chris Akins attack on media all consuming quest to entrap us in it's dazzling glare. The festival's organizer made a joke by mentioning that the some of the very newspapers that are being hit on are suddenly giving the film a quite a bit of column space. I do however worry that the joke may be on the filmmakers with it's lack of providing answers to clear us from the murky quagmire that is the media outlets have become.

The film is frustrating, frightening, troubling and yet constantly entertaining. It's annoyingly flawed but greatly important within our climate. It is essential viewing but will the right people see it? Like all good documentaries Starsuckers has stained my mind and has constantly had me questioning things since I've seen it. Akins' second documentary feature is not only good humored but well informative, hitting home with revealing information on such historic media events such as Live 8, or the disturbing moral ground that is creating fake celebrity stories for money. Such aspects of the film are not only funny but arouse important question about what we read and how our opinions is hijacked and reformed for consumption. Although much of this may not be new to a few people (read some Chomsky maybe) but I still found myself shocked by how deep the rabbit hole goes. So so twisted are the mechanics that I suddenly found myself feeling pretty helpless about how the media manipulates us.

But is this what Akins wants? For the viewer to like they can do nothing but succumb to global media domination? Akins taking liberties was a much more calculated attack on how Labour may have almost effectively stop Britain's right to free speech, which despite it's depressing outlook, still managed to have information on how to react to what you saw if one felt strong enough. Starsuckers lacks positive outcomes and by the end of the film, one may feel more than a little entrenched.

The film also attacks the Internet and bloggers such as myself which is fine, however when looking at the films difficulty in getting made by biting the hand that feeds, it's the honesty of certain bloggers and web writers that will allow this movie to thrive because it will be extremely difficult to go though more traditional outlets.

The film works best when it's kept simple. Akin employ high jinks that would have the likes of Bruno and Borat blushing while Micheal Moore nods in approval. In fact judging by the films reaction with the cinema, Akins effective (if slightly smug) methods not only garner great laughs but manage to get many of the films important points across, even if the film is slightly over reaching.

Starsuckers may have many liberals nodding and winking at the screen, hurriedly agreeing with the films views, but the films lack of positives and over reliance on humor had me worry that maybe we've gone beyond the point of no return when it comes to finding a way out. Where have our reliable sources gone for instance? While we are not in the days of Bernstein and Woodward any more, but isn't there anyone out there to save us? Starsuckers is funny, effective and scary but the question it should but doesn't ask is "what are we going to do?"

More Starsuckers talk at Geekplanetonline