Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? DVD Review

Where is OSAMA

Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?
Director: Morgan Spurlock
2008

Seeing as I’m not much of a fan of Morgan Spurlock’s ‘Super Size Me’, it’s safe to say I went into this one with some heavy reservations. Having said that, for some reason I was really itching to see what it was all about. I remember early rumours spreading; could Spurlock actually have found Bin Laden? Of course not. (*SPOILER ALERT!*) It’s apparent right from the first ten minutes of the film that his goal was never to actually try and find the most elusive and abhorrent terrorist mastermind in the world. Instead, Spurlock decides to use the birth of his first child as a framing device for his ‘mission’, claiming that his goal is to attempt to figure out how we can make the world a safer place for his (and everyone else’s) unborn sons or daughters; a plot element that makes me picture a pre-production meeting in which the ‘we have an idea, but no actual story’ discussion was quickly resolved with this somewhat clumsy (and overly personal) plot device was incorporated into the ‘story’. The result? Spurlock interrupting any and all interesting interviews with shots of him staring longingly at a picture of his wife (most likely taken by the on set photographer) as he spends his month or two on his heroic journey. I actually remember disliking the screen time shared by Spurlock and his wife in Super Size Me, and this film is no better. He’s even managed to incorporate her into his signature animated sequences! (I won’t even get into the fact that I called the ‘water birth’ sequence 20 minutes into the film…hippies.)

Speaking of animated sequences…wow. There are a lot of them. The film actually opens with a ‘Street Fighter’ style video game sequence in which Spurlock faces off with Bin Laden in a vicious death match. Too bad this video game motif carries itself throughout the entire film. In fact, it almost feels as though the actual interviews take a back seat to any opportunity to inject a humourous cartoon or graphic. It just doesn’t work for me. The interesting moments are few and far between, and I really didn’t learn that much about Bin Laden himself that I didn’t already know. Spurlock himself seems like a pretty great guy, but I can’t get past the shallow approach to his subjects. I can see how his journey making this film could have been eye opening and life changing, but none of that really comes through on the screen. It’s simply overshadowed by his overbearing need to entertain. Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden is simply too self-indulgent, too ‘funny’, and too rooted in reality television gimmickery.

1.5 out of 4

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