Shadow World

Directed by Johan Grimonprez

Feature documentary that explores the international arms trade, the only business that counts its profits in billions and losses in human lives.


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  • ★★★½ review by cinemagazine on Letterboxd

    "Beelden als hamer, om de spijker van de boodschap vast te slaan. Met zoveel visuele vuurkracht dreigt het Stockholmsyndroom de kop op te steken bij de kijker. Grimonprez zoekt diens overtuiging en vindt die op eigen kracht, maar laat ook de nuance weg dat een oorlog tegen Saddam nooit zou zijn begonnen zonder 9-11, al weet hij mooi aan te geven dat de wapenindustrie geen moeite heeft met een oorlog extra. "

  • ★★★½ review by Lennart Schoors on Letterboxd

    Not sure why I watched this. It's just a depressing string of stories how our political leadership runs on greed without any semblance of morals. Ugh.

  • ★★★½ review by Elk on Letterboxd

    Political documentaries can't be watched with the same eye that has viewed the work of Adam Curtis.

    A year and a half ago I would've considered this a near perfect documentary... sigh.

    However this still covers interesting aspects of the government's shady government work in Saudi Arabia and most of the middle east, bringing to light some new ideas and furthering my paranoia of not knowing anything about this world and how it's ran.

  • ★★★½ review by Filipe Furtado on Letterboxd

    Mass murder as profit policy. Johan Grimonprez seems to make a movie a decade, so at first it is a little disappointing that his new one is mostly a talking head doc, but this very angry primer on international war industry has Grimonprez careful editing and he moves between facts, interviews and damning politicians soundbites with persuasive precision. The format can sometimes limit what the film can do, but Grimonprez main juxtapositions, the open spaces he often allowsk as well as some of his ideas (like using Eduardo Galeano’s writing as pontuation) carries a punch. Grimonprez structures Shadow World so one of its key concepts is mostly treating it as sort of an original scenario for a post-apocalyptic narrative. Contemporary history that feels like a missive from the future. A hush towards the end. It feels particular depressing and concrete today.

  • ★★★½ review by Ken Rudolph on Letterboxd

    This is a powerful, dense, often poetic, always violent and controversial polemic documentary about the corruption of perpetual wars in the 20th and 21st centuries. The film indicts the arm industries, which are shown to be gigantic bribery machines which pollute the political powers, in particular in Britain and the U.S. The film graphically presents with harrowing visuals the current morass of drone strikes and terrorism in the Middle East with unremitting horror. Nobody comes off well in this film, including the film makers, who perhaps go too far to indict every side and every politician in this "shadow world" of wars and corruption.

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