Review of Where in the World id Osama Bin laden?

Review of Where in the World is Osama Bin laden written and directed by Morgan Spurlock
Rating ***

This latest documentary by Morgan Spurlock uses the humor in the premise of searching for Osama Bin Laden as a way to examine different cultures in the Middle East and the anti U.S. fervor that exists in the region. The end result is an entertaining and enlightening look at the Middle East as seen from a different perspective than what can be seen on the nightly news.

The idea behind the premise of searching for Osama Bin Laden is that Morgan and his wife are expecting their first child. Morgan doesn't want his child to grow up under the threat of terrorism, so he sets off to try to understand where this threat emanates from. Using a video game metaphor as a device to help frame the film, Morgan visits the following mid-east countries: Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel, and Palestine.

While Morgan is off talking with the locals at each stop, the film provides updates on his wife back home. If there is one thing that can be learned from this film it is that the anti American sentiment is universal throughout the region. At the same time, it is obvious that this negative view is directed almost entirely at the U.S. Government and its policies and not against the American people. The majority of the people that Morgan encounters on his visits are cordial and hospitable, with one exception. Morgan's visit to Israel was met with hostility. Not only couldn't he find anyone willing to talk to him, he eventually was forced to leave the area by an angry mob who had no clue who he was or why he was there. This scene was contrasted with an earlier visit to Palestine where he had no problem finding people willing to talk. The tension between the two neighbors was evident. At one point Morgan visits a school that was damaged by a rocket attack. He sits among the rubble pondering what it would be like to have his own child have to grow up under the same circumstances. It was scenes like this that elevated the film, especially in light of recent developments in Israel.

I have no desire to force my feelings and ideology on another person or culture, but I simply don't understand the reason behind treating women like second class citizens. Whether it's Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia, no society will ever prosper that doesn't give equal opportunities to all of its citizens. I don't care how much money the Saudis have. They are as backward a nation as any in the region.

The film ends with Morgan returning in time for the birth of his son. He didn't find Osama Bin Laden, but he did make some new friends. The DVD had very few extras and no audio commentary.

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