Where In The World Is Osama Bin Laden (12)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner07/05/2008

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 93 mins

Entertaining documentary that subtly delivers an important message, while making some astute observations about American foreign policy.

What's it all about?
With Where In The World Is Osama Bin Laden?, director Morgan Spurlock brings the same humorous touch to the War On Terror that he brought to fast food in Super Size Me. When his wife Alexandra (his girlfriend in Super Size Me) announces that she's pregnant, Spurlock starts worrying about the state of the world so he heads off to the Middle East (ignoring several State Department warnings about the dangers involved) to see if he can find Osama Bin Laden.

Before he goes, Spurlock prepares by taking several military-themed self-defence courses (cue an amusing training montage) and getting cultural tips on how to blend in. He then travels to Egypt, Morocco, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and finally Pakistan, meeting several interesting people along the way.

The Good
Spurlock's various encounters are both eye-opening and amusing, particularly when he meets Bin Laden's bemused uncle and asks him if he's ever tempted to turn in his nephew for the reward. However, the film is most effective when showing Spurlock's warm and funny interactions with the everyday people he meets on the street (many of whom denounce Bin Laden as a fanatic).

That said, it's not all sweetness and light, as Spurlock has at least one confrontation (where an angry crowd quickly gathers) that is extremely nerve-wracking. In addition, Spurlock provides a potted history of American foreign policy in the Middle East which is as depressing as it is informative.

The Bad
Some of the humour is a little crude, most notably a protracted and frequently repeated video game sequence that isn't even funny the first time round. Similarly, despite the obvious framing device of the pregnancy (and the built-in excuse to end the search and come home), it's hard not to criticise Spurlock for essentially abandoning his pregnant wife in order to make his movie.

Worth seeing?
Where In The World Is Osama Bin Laden is an entertaining, eye-opening and frequently amusing documentary that delivers an important message. Recommended.

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Where In The World Is Osama Bin Laden (12)
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Content updated: 15/12/2017 16:04

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