I admit, when I received this film in the mail for review, I was extremely suspicious of it. I am not a conspiracy theorist, and though I am interested in the facts surrounding the 9-11 tragedy, I am not one that buys into all the theories surrounding the day. The cover of this disc, and the fact that it came to me by itself in a plain brown envelope, made me believe that I was in for another crackpot theory.
When I started to watch the film, however, I realized that this was going to be a film that was much …ore aligned with my interests than I originally thought. The main premise of this film is to dispute the growing belief in the United States that the Jews were behind the attacks of 9-11. specifically, the focus is on an ancient manuscript called The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which is said to be the minutes of a meeting of a group of Jews, and outlines their plans for world domination.
Obviously, this is complete and utter nonsense, but many around the world are using this text as evidence of the evil nature of the Jews, and we are seeing a rise in anti-Semitism as a result. (For a complete history of the text, see its entry at ww.wikipedia.com). This film takes in all sides of the arguments against the Jews, and it does so in the most objective manner possible. He achieves this by presenting very little narration, leaving the majority of the information to the interview subjects themselves. Clearly, director Marc Levin believes that the facts in such subjects will make themselves clear. I agree with him wholeheartedly.
The audio here is something of a mixed bag, which is to be expected for a documentary film. To get to the bottom of a topic, you must go to the story, instead of waiting for it to come to you. As a result, you have to capture sound on location. Sometimes the result is clear, sometimes it is a little harder to hear. Likewise, filmmakers cannot be held responsible for the audio quality of existing materials. Taking all this into account, I feel comfortable saying that the audio quality here is above average for a documentary feature. The audio was very well recorded, and there are almost no instance in the film that needs the assistance of subtitles.
It is a real shame that this film is presented in non-anamorphic widescreen. What could possibly be the reason for this severe oversight? It really annoys me when documentaries are presented this way. Why go to all the trouble of filming a documentary on a topic that you feel strongly about, and then presenting it in an unprofessional way? It is irresponsible to do so, and it is a real shame.
This oversight aside, the film looks pretty decent. Color is refreshingly authentic, and black levels are strong. There are some nagging problems with jagged edges, however, especially on long shots. This all adds up to a mixed bag visually speaking.
There are only a few extras on this disc, but they are of high quality. In addition to a collection of trailers for this and other documentary films, there are also two deleted interviews that were obviously cut for time constraints. Finally there is a “town hall” style discussion with the director. This segment was shot in November 2005 at the Boston Jewish Film Festival, and is a nice closing segment to help wrap up the experience.
Equal time is given to white supremacists, anti-semitics, Christians and Jewish scholars alike. Despite my suspicions, this is an amazingly insightful documentary. Admittedly, it probably raises a lot more questions than it answers, but it is always refreshing to hear intelligent arguments on difficult topics. Just as you shouldn’t judge a people by their faith, you should not judge this disc by its cover. This is a very intelligent and insightful film, and it explores a very important topic in the world today.
Special Features List
- Question-and-Answer with the Filmmaker
- Deleted Scenes
- Trailer Gallery