What is the story about?
Three directors conduct secret interviews with various people involved in the American government’s attempts to control the COVID-19 outbreak over the summer of 2020.
Totally Under Control is not an easy watch. When you watch it knowing over 200,000 people have died of COVID-19 in the US already, and the virus shows no signs of slowing down, it makes your blood boil. Directors Alex Gibney, Ophelia Harutyunyan and Suzanne Hillinger deserve praise just for pulling off the secret interviews with various people involved in the medical establishment and the White House administration. The bubble of delusions that Donald Trump occupies is exposed very well in all the interviews.
However, to borrow an old literary adage, too much of something can be a bad thing. After watching multiple people bash Trump for his inept handling of the virus, you start to get fidgety. At times, it feels like the directors are not addressing a discerning audience who appreciate documentaries, but rather the American citizens who are scheduled to cast their votes for the presidential election in November. The preachiness of certain sequences feels like an election campaign commercial. However, when the directors keep the focus on the virus, they fire on all cylinders.
Music & Other Departments
Ben Bloodwell’s camerawork captures the urgency of a nation in crisis.
The documentary is a vital documentation of all the confusion in the White House. However, it feels at times as if the directors have gone overboard in criticizing the US President for his presidency rather than for his failure to contain COVID-19.
Did I enjoy it?
Yes, if only to understand how Donald Trump’s mind keeps oscillating between various conspiracy theories.
Do I recommend it?
Yes, it is a decent one-time watch.