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6 reviews, 21 user ratings

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Control Room
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by Jay Seaver

"A movie about principles"
5 stars

There's no shortage of interesting topics to explore in Control Room. The issue of relations between the media and the military during wartime is always worth examining, and the idea of Al Jazeera is worth a look itself.

The Middle East has a reputation for restrictive governments, and a television news station that covers the region without being accountable to any nation is a new idea. And, unlike director Jehane Noujaim's previous film (the annoying Startup.com), Control Room is filled with interesting people doing interesting things.

A scene toward the end encapsulates what makes Control Room so interesting. It's a conversation between United States Marine Corps media liaison Josh Rushing and Al-Jazeera journalist Hassan Ibrahim. Both have shown themselves to be intelligent, articulate men with apparent internal contradictions. Rushing's job is to handle the media, to basically keep information from getting out. He is, however, candid in his segments about how his differing reactions to Al-Jazeera pictures of dead Iraqis and dead Americans. Ibrahim, once with the BBC, often can't keep the disgust out of his voice when describing what America is doing, but also professes to believe in the American people and constitution to put a stop to it. Their discussion on the perception of how Americans see events in Iraq as seperate from the Israel-Palestine situation while the Arab world sees it as the same, and why, is good commentary and in some small way hopeful in how it shows people in a war zone talking and thinking about problems.

As a "fly on the wall" documentary, Control Room is pretty good. As they are covering the media coverage of a major event, the filmmakers are able to use a fair amount of outside footage, be it Al-Jazeera or CNN, without feeling like it's being padded or trying to cover holes - the footage itself is relevent. The talking-head sequences seem relatively unrehearsed. It is also, I would think, fairly accessible to people across the political spectrum. It does make some digs at the current administration - it is difficult not to have a strong opinion about that polarizing group, or to express it given the film's subject matter - and the unstated but strongly implied irony is that the principles of these Arabic journalists appear to be more American than those of the people sworn to uphold to Constitution (including the First Ammendment). You probably won't learn much about the nuts and bolts of journalism by watching Control Room, but it does a very good job of delivering the big picture.

Which is good. The ideas and ideals of this movie are worth checking out, as are the people espousing them

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=8538&reviewer=371
originally posted: 06/19/04 19:12:47
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Philadelphia Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Sydney Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Sydney Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Seattle Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 San Francisco Film Festival. For more in the 2004 San Francisco Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Edinburgh Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Edinburgh Film Festival series, click here.
This film is listed in our political documentary series. For more in the Political Documentary series, click here.

User Comments

10/07/05 mohanad al shaar it was a great movie about a very great channel 5 stars
6/30/05 Phil M. Aficionado See it, listen to the commentary of the 2 Al Jazeera staff member central characters. A+ 5 stars
1/31/05 Jim Riveting; might be considered "propaganda" by rigid idealogues. 5 stars
12/29/04 DM A must-see film if ever there was one 5 stars
11/08/04 james Incredible film that brilliantly shows media biasis. 5 stars
9/17/04 Graham Some amazing journalism, though not quite a satisfying film narrative 4 stars
7/18/04 M Lin Consider the complexity of information sources, exercise critical thinking. 5 stars
7/07/04 Bill Valuable insights for US citizens before 11/2 vote 5 stars
6/20/04 Russ Sims A refreshing piece of filmmaking about war as seen by the eyes of the so-called "enemy" 5 stars
6/11/04 Boombah Baby You Americans need to start realizing that unpopular truth is not propaganda. 5 stars
6/10/04 NICK HABIB Outstanding movie that prompts the mind to think rather then just absorb 5 stars
5/21/04 steve Liberal Propaganda??? 2 stars
4/25/04 stenobabe provocative, disturbing 5 stars
4/04/04 Giulia Cox Subtle, provoking. NOT a polemic; rather, an intelligent look at unfolding events. 5 stars
2/24/04 John F A should be manditory viewing in HS gov't classes. 5 stars
2/23/04 Cheron McGuffey This film is an eye opener - to understand the human cost of this war look here. 5 stars
2/21/04 Paulus A must see for everyone, especially every American! 5 stars
2/19/04 Andrea Valenti We talked about this film for hours-- A MUST SEE!! 5 stars
2/08/04 Alec Therins What is truth? What is Propaganda? What is an unbias view? 4 stars
1/31/04 John Langford Great film, worth seeing twice. 5 stars
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  DVD: 26-Oct-2004



Directed by
  Jehane Noujaim

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