HyperNormalisation (2016) Poster

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A summary of where we are and how we got here.
philw-1219 October 2016
I don't often write reviews on IMDb. In fact, this is only the second one I can remember doing. So why am I writing one now? Because this documentary is brilliant? No. It's very good, but brilliant would be a stretch.

I am writing it, because this documentary is important.

This film is long, at 2 hours 45 mins. For a documentary, you would think you'd fall asleep long before the end. Trust me, you won't. It is never boring, and at times, it's frankly mesmerising.

In a nutshell the film tells how we have arrived in the post-truth political world, from it's origins in the 1975. It explains the complex interplay between politics, the rise of the internet, the media and social media. Using archive footage and the power of hindsight, it show's how our governments are now just controllers and managers of risk, rather than visionaries, and why you can no longer believe much of anything they tell you.

Sounds like a conspiracy theory right? It isn't. I pride myself on being a rational thinker. I studied science at uni. I'm not religious and I take pleasure in debunking the ridiculous conspiracy theories you see on the internet. This is different. Not because he backs everything up with sources and evidence, but because if you are old enough, you will remember the events, and you will know it makes sense.

I gave this 8/10. Would have been 7, but I think the importance of the subject matter warrants a bonus point. It could have scored a ten, but as I said, I'm a trained scientist, and I value evidence. The film is let down by the absence of enough hard proof. It left me with the feeling that it's absolutely spot on, and that I already knew what it is telling me, but just hadn't admitted it to myself. However, I feel that it will leave many, especially those of the more conservative persuasion, saying "where's the evidence?"

Some more hard facts; documents, interviews with insiders, anything, would have helped to convincingly drive the point home. That said, if you're looking for something that will make you think, you'll certainly get that.
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A review without analysis
Gretchen_X30 April 2017
This is a very long film so I recommend breaking it up into two or more chunks and leaving some time for digestion in between. It has lots of interesting ideas and I guarantee even the best-read will learn something and have a couple of "Hmmmm" moments, if not an "Aha!" one.

Curtis has a way of imposing a narrative upon your active perception using images, music and sounds in ways you would expect from, ahem, a film maker. He even casts himself as a journalist, rather than a storyteller. As a result, you are always aware that you are being manipulated, just like the manufactured reality discussed/presented in the film. You are the audience of the audience.

Proceeding in this spirit, though many people have found Hypernormalisation depressing and frightening, it should not take you anywhere you haven't been before (if you are over 50 anyway). Barbarism in the pursuit of power is not peculiar to the 20th and 21st centuries, it is just a lot bigger and it's online. Hypernormalisation is not for the squeamish, but when you become aware that you have developed a level of immunity to these myriad images of horror, you get to understand what normalisation means. Neither is it for the faint hearted; the target audience may be those who are already deeply cynical.

But Curtis is a clever film maker, let him entertain you.
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Flawed but fascinating in its polemic presentation
bob the moo21 February 2017
At the core of this film is a message which I think we can all appreciate; that the world is complex and filled with diversity but at the same time we are encouraged by our media, hobbies, and politicians, to believe it is much more black/white, and not to expose ourselves to views that contrast with our own. This is not new unfortunately – the politics of the right/wrong is everywhere, and the echo chambers of Twitter, CNN, Fox, and many other "people who liked this also liked these" type tools – it is pretty clear where we are. How we got here is more interesting, and there are worse ways to explore it than to allow Adam Curtis to have a run at explaining it.

The way he does it here is as compelling and confusing and frustrating and flawed as one would imagine; it really succeeds in making some of his other work look like the tightest factual presentation ever. In almost three hours we explore the story by touching on Gaddafi, Ayatollah Khomeini, the internet, politics, Donald Trump, 1970's Russian sci-fi; the Arab spring; perception management, drugs, Brexit, UFO conspiracies, Twitter, and so on. Often the links are tenuous, but Curtis structures it really cleverly – we are given chunks of facts in a presentation that makes sense, and as a result we accept the links even as they jump countries and decades.

The downside is that many will be turned off because this is polemic incorrectly presented as a documentary. It is not the latter but as the former it works very well. Although it runs to almost 3 hours, I did not find it boring, but rather found it quite compelling in its message and the manner in which it is presented. The strength of the film to me was not that it convinces in every word, or that I agreed with it wholly but rather that it gave me plenty to think about. It helps that I am old enough to remember many of these events – to have seen the shifting political allegiances, to experience the moments, and to feel like they were not organic in all cases.

HyperNormalization is a niche film – it did not even make it not a BBC channel but rather was put on the streaming service directly. It is not as smart as it wants to, but it is engaging and interesting whether you agree with all of its assertions or not.
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Mis-interpretation of the past w/ blatant propaganda
birthdaysuit1123 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers
It is a mis-interpretation of the past, if not outright status-quo propaganda.

The documentary has these enormous suppositions that come from.. out of someone's ass perhaps? Um, excuse me, I grew up in the eighties and nineties, and to put a blanket statement over the entire western culture that everyone gave up hope of better things in the nineties is utter farcical bull crap. Really? The stock market was booming, (due to interest rate manipulation by the fed) the internet and bio-pharma boom was happening, and this film states that "everyone gave up ideas of a better future???" It then plays some movie clips over and over again and subsequently shows 9/11 footage as supposed obvious conclusion to fear and foreboding in America (and it seems the west in general) and the terror attacks were just a natural outcome from all of that? The movie even begins talking about NYC in the seventies running out of money and them waiting for the banks to come in and buy their bonds.. this had an inkling of interest for me, based on my understandings of the way the banks in America, especially after the forming of the federal reserve in 1913, behaved. They created, supported by Keynesian economists, the idea of the "business cycle." A complete sham that enormous amounts of westerner's and even the world in general, believe in. The business cycle is nothing more than the regular bailing out of the banks. Look no further than the GFC to confirm this.

The Fed manipulates and lowers interest rates, the speculative markets and housing skyrocket, and then, low and behold, it all crashes! What to do? Punish the bankers that made shoddy investments? Throw any of them in jail? NO! Pay them gobs and gobs of taxpayer money. Sink the nation further into debt and provide more interest revenue streams to the banks, as they simultaneously proceed to do it all over again! Lower rates, the market soars, the bubbles inflate! Look at Deutsch Bank: 65 TRILLION in derivatives and there stock valuation of such a supposedly first class investing institution is less than TWITTER!! The derivatives they sit on top of equal 19 times the GDP of the most powerful market share of the EU: Germany!! Think of the massive jenga stack/bubble that is. Amazing.. here we go again, its not a matter of IF but WHEN this thing is going to blow.

What this FILM really misses is the financial ties to everything. Money runs the world and the FED with its criminal monopoly of the US dollar is on of the kings. This massive crash in 2008 happens, we QE and lower rates and... no hyper inflation! How come? Man, if it was just printing money and lowering rates, all of the banana republics and African dictatorships would be the most powerful and wealthy nations in the world! How do we do it? Well this film alludes to it in the beginning: it had something to do with that massive war criminal, Henry Kissinger.

This is the man who colluded with McNamara and Nixon to bomb Cambodia back to the stone age and created a power vacuum there that led to the genocide and slaughter of 2million people. Nice bit that was huh? Pol Pot running around and having his henchmen photograph and then systematically torture and murder most of the population. Forgot to mention that little feather in Kissinger's cap. But Kissinger also did some other things that are allowing us to export our inflation today to the rest of the world. He created the Petro-dollar cycle. You see, Nixon was at war in Vietnam, things were going well, slaughter was happening, the military industrial complex was making fat green. But there was a limit to it all: the pesky gold standard. You were limited by how much you could budget for war efforts by the amount of gold you had to back your dollars with, a nice check, a discipline for not over-spending. What to do? Well, you blame the international speculators, say you are saving the dollar from the gold hoarders around the world, and well.. cut the dollar loose from the gold standard.

At the same time, what the film and Adam Curtis conveniently did not mention about Kissinger's dealings in the Middle East, he convinced the Saudi's and their oil producing friends of a protection racket. We would back them militarily in the Middle East if they would agree to only sell oil for US dollars. Yep, it was that simple. These two things kicked off the petro-dollar cycle: it goes like this: the fed creates dollars out of thin air, then the US government and the commercial banks borrow those dollars (at interest, of course) and then we, and the rest of the world, buy our oil from the middle east. Then Saudi Arabia and its pals take their profits and put them back into the Federal Reserve (specifically the New York branch). Then... get this brilliance... the Fed takes those dollars and loans them out again.. at interest! Phenomenal! A double loan occurs for money created out of thin air! I've written a book so far, so I will stop there, but research this yourselves folks.. don't believe the crap from this piece of crap from the msm. In conclusion, it is over-simplified garbage that paints a one-sided, dangerous picture.

Do not BELIEVE my words, research instead of believing a neatly pieced but through out and through out fictional story with a biased geopolitical agenda. Where's the talk about Wikileaks, Clinton getting funds from Qatar,which has openly supported ISIS, the Qatar-Turkey Pipeline vs. Syria-Iran-Iraq Pipeline. These things were not mentioned because it is a propaganda piece, nothing more and just in time for the election.THERE ARE NO GOOD GUYS IN GEO-POLITICS, remember that.
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Disappointingly Poor
muzzieoz23 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers

First off, I would start by saying I am generally a huge fan of Mr Curtis' work; The Century of the Self series was brilliant and The Mayfair Set almost as good. However, HyperNormalisation is quite different.

Mr Curtis covers a lot of different topics in this film. He starts with New York's near bankruptcy in the 1970's and the bankers effectively dictating to the politicians what cuts to make to public services, before briefly mentioning the hippies of the 1960's and their giving up on trying to change the world in the 1970's, before jumping off to talk about Syria in the 1970's. This is common throughout the film. Mr Curtis talks about one particular topic, make a few points then jumps off to talk about another, seemingly completely unrelated topic.

When you watch HyperNormalisation you find yourself asking, "Are you making an argument or a just suggestion?" and then find you do not have an answer to that question.

He covers a lot of different topics. Timothy Leary and LSD in the 1960's, the dawn of so-called "cyberspace" in the 1990's (the internet to you or I), the history of suicide bombings in the Middle East, Lebanon, the Iran-Iraq War, Libya, Colonel Gaddafi, Hamas, (the non-existent) WMD's, the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi, the Arab Spring, Facebook, news-generating algorithms, BlackRock, Soviet science fiction writers, the rise of Trump, it's all there, being jumped to, back and forth.

The ending is particularly poor and the point he makes is almost so subtle that you only understand it after mulling it over. He makes his final point by reference to a scene in the film Carrie, which no one will understand unless they have seen the film, and with reference to a tearful women, who oozes condescension, complaining about Brexit. Even then, the point he is making is very vague.

In the end, it's all just a bit of a mess. What's sad is that Mr Curtis is trying to explain the world and it's future yet watching HyperNormalisation you are left with the impression that he no longer understands it himself.
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Ever get the feeling you've been cheated - J. Lydon 1978
dgjones-6225820 June 2018
This is a documentary that people need to watch. It's informative in a way I have never seen on TV before and will help people of all political divides to make their minds up as to weather their political beliefs are accurate.

From other reviews you will gather that it is about politics, money, power, The West, the Middle East, and how politicians are trying to re-establish some form of control by lying to you.

My review is to encourage you to watch this because of the future of the internet. INFORMATION IS POWER.

Today questions are being put forward in parliament about how to control the internet - this documentary will both inform you about how important this is and possibly scare you about who might be setting the controls.
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Eye Opening
thomasjay-5227731 July 2018
A fascinating dive into the current world of politics and the vast significant changes worldwide over the past 30-40 years which have seen a change in systems and beliefs. This documentary provides the facts behind political conflict and gives reason for particular events which have triggered truly shocking outcomes. The run time might be off putting but this is an important watch
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Again: From Falsity everything follows
zalouteacher8 November 2016
Adam again used his deconstructivist style in order to reach the un-result leaving the viewer mesmerized and perplexed by what s/he should hold as truth in this world. The soundtrack of the documentary is similar to his previous documentary "Bitter Lake" with the acid music and also the colors in the movie are really sharp with raw footage that are unedited maybe to reflect the real world he's trying to unravel to the laymen. Again, he blames the finance men for the troubles that are happening around the world and also the politicians who gave up their powers to them by letting them have more than it is supposed to be. However, he has some inaccuracies in terms of some cases especially to what is happening in the Arab world. In other words, he may have even fallen in the perception management that he described in his documentary. In general, his documentary is mind opening to question the reality that is surrounding us.
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Disorientating,unsettling,curious and always interesting
JBLOSS19 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers
HyperNormalisation is an ambitious attempt to explain how we view and understand the world we live in. We are overwhelmed by data yet become ever more trapped in silos. We struggle to know what is the "truth" whilst sometimes accepting a fake one if it suits our needs or prejudices...that applies to governments as well as the general populace. The film charts the origins of the Syrian crisis, the rise of the banks and corporates, the evolution of politicians becoming managers rather than leaders. It illustrates quite shockingly how forces unleashed by Syria and Iran in the late 70s and early 80s have come back to haunt them. There are numerous strands to this tale which also covers The Donald who has perhaps more than many exploited the increased anger and disillusionment with the world amongst many. The film shows how there is increased tendency to preach to the already converted and how social media amplifies this as it runs on algorithms based on individuals likes and interests. It's hard to summarise effectively but it is thought provoking and is a noble attempt to lift the veil on the world we live in and how it can be manipulated,obscured and presented in a multitude of ways.
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Lies about Lies about Lies
Radu_A19 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
As practically any political documentary these days, this one isn't interesting because of the "facts" it reveals, but rather because of what it chooses to omit and how information is manipulated to pass for a chain of events. The most interesting observation can be summarized in an axiom: the broader (not just) a documentary's subject is, the more likely it substitutes hard facts with the film maker's personal beliefs.

One very obvious omission is that Salafism isn't even mentioned once. Salafism has been taught at Sunni theological schools at least since the 1920s, Salafism is the backbone of al-Quaida, all 9/11 attackers were Salafists, Daesh is Salafist, all individual terrorists in Europe had Salafist connections. To claim that the source of modern terrorism is Syria's Shia dictator Assad is definitely a lie. I don't know whether this means that this is a propaganda effort( the Saudis and their dirty war in Yemen are suspiciously omitted), or whether the author is simply going for the ultimate "everything-is-connected" effect - that would be very BBC. Either way, this causality construction presents a deliberate manipulation of facts that can be easily counter-checked.

Another prominent claim of this film is that Ghaddafi was never a real threat to the Western world and merely set up as a stooge to cover up terrorist bombings actually committed by Syria or Hezbollah. There is no convincing argument delivered why this should be the case. The film maker argues that the US wanted to somehow cooperate with Syria, when all the hard facts point to the opposite. If you're into conspiracy theory, one might argue that the Ghaddafi's fall intensified the refugee crisis in the EU, which would then be the ultimate target of everything the US messes up. If you're not a conspiracy fan, you might as well go with "if nobody knows anything, you gotta do something, so that it seems you know everything".

Another claim is that Assad used Hezbollah for suicide attacks against soft targets as a revenge for Kissinger's obstruction of a unified Arab world. That concept, however, originated with Egypt's Nasser in the 1950s, and the first organized terror attack in the Western world was the PLO's assassination of the Israeli Olympic team in Munich in 1972. It was the Sunni PLO that Shia Hezbollah learned terror from, not Hamas from Hezbollah after the Sabra/Shatila massacres of 1982. Just look at the sequence of events, people. The OPEC siege, Entebbe, Mogadischu, all that happened before and had multiple causes.

What is true, however, is the assessment that the failure of the Arab Spring and the failure of Occupy can be traced to what I hold to be the only profound statement made in this film: that the internet may have the power to bring people together against something, but cannot substitute an alternative idea. Today's protest movements all fail because they are not based on an underlying concept. Curtis should have added that, as a consequence, their failure cannot be ascribed to Islam. It's rather the incapability of an internet image culture to formulate strategy and organize leadership - just look at the Pirate Party, or #Black Lives Matter's strategic error not to reach out to Hispanics, which would multiply their base.

Another interesting bit is the piece on Russian media manipulation by Putin's confidant Surkov, supporting both protest groups and right-wing nationalists in an attempt to rile them up against each other - inspired by absurdist theater - which is fascinating. This is, alas, only mentioned in passing - the focus drifts to Trump's campaign and culminates in the common theme of keeping the public in a disorganized state of uncertainty in the face of an ever changing narrative. However, this is not a new idea as this film may make you think, but in fact a cornerstone of postmodern philosophy and media theory (just google Postman).

So watch this with caution. There are some good points to take home with, but the alternative reality this film constructs is just as unconvincing as the official story. The simple truth to a slightly older academic like me is that today nobody knows anything anymore because they're constantly overloaded with useless info. The film maker walked right into this trap himself, by coming up with his specific "what if" scenario, and then eliminating every fact that doesn't work with his interpretation from his film.
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Adam Curtis' Perception Management
startlepoint15 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Adam Curtis is a master at great montage, using music, images, and hysterical narration to illustrate points that are often valid but sometimes boldly deceptive and downright misguided.

"HyperNormalisation" is one of the best of examples of both the good and bad of Curtis' documentaries. Parts about the manipulation of popular perceptions by politicians and corporations are effective and make great sense. One of the best moments is when Curtis juxtaposes the assassination of Romania's Mr. and Mrs. Nicolae Ceaușescu with images from Jane Fonda's workout video, illustrating how the old world of the Cold War was being replaced by a new one, where individuals are distracted by trivia, and where new enemies either emerge or are created.

The tension builds as Colonel Qaddafi gets remolded from an international pariah into a temporary good guy -- only to be vilified once again and killed. The problem with the film really starts here: nowhere does Curtis stress that Obama and Hillary were in charge at the time of this hypocritical about-face. Hillary's infamous "We came, we saw, he died" remark would have added so much more power to Curtis' point and to his narrative. And it would have made him seem much more evenhanded in his judgments.

This film came out, however, just when Donald Trump won the Republican Presidential nomination. And by the tone Curtis takes when speaking of Trump, viewers can assume Curtis favored Hillary's victory. So, he appears to have manipulated his film with the pending U.S. election in mind.

Reagan and George W. are generously faulted throughout the film for their roles in international mischief, but the slight presence of Obama and Hillary, and the continual castigation of Trump (who was yet to prove himself on the political stage) makes this film -- despite its many poignant moments -- an ultimate failure. Curtis is himself guilty of the "perception management" that he tries to fault throughout.
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Not as cohesive as Bitter Lake but still miles ahead
alexjamesholmes10 April 2018
Thought provoking illustration of a moment in time and how the events lead up to it, both as poignant as they are eclectic, contribute to the current social and economic climate of today.
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I've been saying this for a long time now...
UNOhwen25 May 2019
Chillingly accurate.

My Curtis is probably the most accurate - devastating documentarist I've ever seen.

I think Mr Curtis' ouvre is a visual record on part with the witness of Malcolm Gladwell, and though they're interests differ,, these 2 are supporters of the tent poles which hold us up - personally and as a race.

Watching, I find it difficult to not watch, but, for every brake in his narrative, I'm almost fearful to continue watching.

I've always said there's nothing more chilling than realty.

If you're sometime who wants to begin to understand, 'wtf is going on with this works and how had it happened?' here it is.

I don't want to say to much, aside from this is truly the real 'Shock of the New (to borrow, from my favourite art historian essayist, and general bad boy, Robert Hughes).
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Long But Worth It
cianlyons-1856513 May 2018
Hypernormalisation is an interesting film. I think when watching it you have to keep in mind that more than anything Adam Curtis is an idealist and he is telling you a story more so than he's telling you a history. Some of the historical details aren't really up to snuff but the overarching point is what's really important I think. I don't agree with a lot of Curtis' conclusions but his ultimate point about politics becoming this hypernormalised spectacle is one that is very worthwhile.
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Trump Propaganda
robinnboe12 November 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Starts with anti Trump narrative, implies 9/11 was Saudi Terrorists, doesn't even entertain the notion that all the evidence points towards foul play, not going to list the undeniable evidence for this position, would take to long...

Mentions nothing on Yemen, Qatar and how Europe wants the control of these areas for the Gas/Oil reserves, which coincidentally run directly in a straight line back to Europe through Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria and Turkey, not to mention the future cities that are being built in Saudia Arabia and Emirates, wouldn't the rich west love to all live in these amazing cities with Qatar/Yemen etc mass gas oil supplies?

Ends with even more and even longer section of anti Trump narrative including anti Putin tones neglecting the fact that it was America that pulled out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002 not Russia.

No surprise it's from the BBC, the people that echoed Bush and Blair's war on Iraq without doing a ounce of real Journalism into the evidence themselves, the people that protected Jimmy Savile knowing he was a paedophile... need I say more.
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Fatally Flawed, Don't Bother
martimusross25 April 2019
Where to began with this hotch-potch of strange conspiratorial liberal idea that is built upon some many unstable foundations. The whole "movie" could have really made a real contribution to an understanding of modern politics, the internet and business in our world but it got lost down silly rabit holes that showed no understanding of the real guiding principles that lay behind, this was a missed opportunity.

I will details some of the main areas where is went wrong;

Politics has never ruled our world, whether democractic or autocratic, government of any form is by nature reactive and rarely leads anything.

Business has always had a greater influence on society than anything else, whether directly, within society or by its influence of politics.

No society can survive in isolation for any length of time, the market needs production and sells and foreign currency.

The internet has no morality in of itself.

It is for society pressurising government to react to the negative aspects of markets, the internet and any threats to the safety of its people.

The programme assumes that the checks and balances that lay in the political systems of either the UK or America cannot check the extemes of either, even a casual observation demonstrates this is not the case.

Brexit is merely leaving a club of european rules the programme overplays the significance of the EU as it does with Donald Trump.

The programme failed to examine as Aristotle believed that "democracy was incompatible with the arab mind" and why this is or is not the case

Gadafi was a tin pot dictator not worthy of mentioning, the key point here was if you remove a government you cannot leave a void and forces need to stay until that void has been filled.

Lastly I would add the programme presents a kind of liberal authoritarianism and global politics at odds with any national identity, or belief in the nation state to self determine. This was all so lost in a mire the programme was fatally flawed.
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Makes you wonder
YesWeCan201724 January 2017
With a £30k budget and an amazing flair for story-telling, the director takes us on a journey through post-WW2 history and the circumstances as to why we are in this disillusioned state so many political agendas seem to be supporting.

This is great viewing and really gets you to think hard about the issues that matter: nothing can truly be explained by a 140-character tweet and that's exactly the problem: the world is too interlinked and complex to be understood via superficial analysis nor poetic slogans.

We need to collectively understand the deeper issues at hand, and find the solution that deals at source - building walls, imperial slogans, bigotry and racist knee-jerk responses are not the way

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Stylish, BBC leftwing / Neoliberal propaganda
greatdeceivah4 January 2017
The moment that Adam Curtis names Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin along suicide bombers, waves of refugees and Brexit among some of the things that "undermine the stability of the world" we know that this is just another leftwing, neoliberalist propaganda "documentary", created to demonize Rusia, Iran and all the enemies of the Neocon world Order.

Of course Mr. Curtis never mentions of the fact that the biggest culprits of the destruction of the stability of the world in the past eight years are Obama, Hillary Clinton as US secretary of state, and the CIA, which in less than a decade have managed to create ISIS and completely destroy Libya, Siria, Yemen and topple the governments of Egypt, Tunisia, with the CIA backed and planned "Arab Spring".

The Obama / Clinton warmongering "legacy" far exceeds the destruction created by G W Bush and his neocon war on Iraq: During his 8 years of terror, Obumma dropped 26,171 bombs on wedding parties, funerals, kid's soccer games, hospitals, schools, people in their homes and walking their streets, and farmers tilling their fields in seven countries: Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan. Some Nobel Peace prize winner.

In the rest of this film, Mr. Curtis tries to explain "how the world got to this point" by coming up with some lame theory of "hypernormalization" that claims that the (nameless) people in power have been fooling all of us, even those who are opposed to the system by creating a sanitized version of reality.

Mr. Curtis is partially right, and ironically, he and his pathetic, pop-music driven propaganda documentaries are themselves a part of the fake news reality constructed by the neoliberalists in power, and their channels of brainwashing mass media like the BBC, CNN, NBC, etc etc

This documentary wastes no time to take jabs Donald Trump, by coming up with some ridiculous links between NYC bankers and some inane seventies NYC underground artists as if this was the start of the fake news and fake reality.

The truth is that the imperialist propaganda machine has been running since the beginning of the 20th century.

As expected, Mr. Curtis goes on to paint Syrian president Assad's father Hafez al-Assad (president from 1971 to 2000) AS some kind of evil dictator, and to blame him, Iran and Egypt for the creation of radical islamists.

This is completely ridiculous, as award-winning geopolitical analyst William Engdahl has written in his many books; most terrorist organizations in the Middle East are the descendants of the CIA- backed Muslim Brotherhood after WWII, as used for example in Afghanistan against the Russians in the form of the Taliban. The animosity between the muslims and the west started way back at the beginning of the century when the British were trying to destroy the Ottoman Empire.

Let's not forget that at one point or another, Osama BinLaden, Saddam Hussein and the Shah of Iran were all CIA / US imperialist puppets.

In this ridiculous documentary, Adam Curtis refuses to blame the real culprits of the never-ending warmongering around the word.. US imperialism, the CIA and the Neocons that run the US government and its policies, and the puppets of evil.. Bush, Blair, Obama, NATO, etc

He does the best that he can to demonize those who side with Russia (like Syria and Iran) and oppose the neocon / neoliberal world order.

This film clearly shows that Adam Curtis is nothing but a coward, neoliberal propagandist.
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ageofunthinking25 August 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I'm not familiar with 1970s events but the ones I'm familiar with and presented here are deeply flawed.

9/11 attacks had two sides, official and conspiracy. Conspiracy theorists claimed it was inside job and official story claimed it was terrorists from Saudi Arabia. Movie says it was from some other middle eastern country. When you make a claim like that provide some proof.

2016 elections went the way it did because people didn't want to vote for Hillary Clinton. People didn't choose Trump as their president. People chose Hillary Clinton as not their president.

As mentioned in other reviews here, Curtis jumps from topic to topic which doesn't have real connection but he makes it look like so. Since the two events I'm familiar with are greatly flawed I cannot agree if all the other events shown are completely true. Hence, 1 star for this film.
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I don't know what Curtis plays in between films
ersbel24 November 2016
I don't know what Curtis plays for fun in between film productions, but surely he is losing his marbles. And it takes a particular type of person to like what Curtis does.

So Stage 1. New York City. The city is run by incompetents. Erase that. The incompetents are in serious debt. Keep that. The incompetents want to raise the bar and bring in some more debt, when they are unable to pay even the first part. Flash a light over this fact. Nobody wants to make business with the incompetents. Film that. So the incompetents are fired and brought to court to recoup some of the incurred debt. No way, that would be common sense! So the incompetents beg the creditors to forward some more money. The creditors, surprisingly, want to have some of the money back, unlike the taxpayer. So the creditors ask for an overview of the spending. Boom-boom! Conspiracy alert! And can you imagine? For the first time the financial committee has 8 bankers out of 9 people. Who has ever heard of anything like that done by the state? Accountancy should be done by pharmacists and highway construction should be left to the midwives like any good state syndicate would do. Now, if you replace banker with Jew Curtis' discourse is precisely the centuries old Christian propaganda.

Stage 2. Patty Smith. She somehow decides to fit in the tableau instead of "changing the system." What? Right! Like the 16th century theater owners who were fighting the system by brown nosing to the king and aristocrats, like the poets who were writing poems for a bowl of soup, like painters satirizing their patron's religious beliefs. Oh! What days of decadence Mr. Curtis has lived.

And so on, for almost three hours. Nice story. So the voters should give more power to the... power?

Contact me with Questions, Comments or Suggestions ryitfork @ bitmail.ch
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The Truth is Out There (but we don't really want to hear it)
adamthomasmurphy7 April 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Adam Curtis argues that our world is built on a foundation of lies. Lies that help us accept that those in control know what they are doing, despite history proving again and again that even the most powerful politicians are just as in the dark as you or I. Curtis gives example after example. Neoliberal policy was the height of this theory, but neoliberals used it as a selling point and argued they were 'managers' who needed to just 'tweak the system.'

Francis Fukayama wrote the popular 'The End of History' in 1992 that was the exclamation point at the end of the Neoliberal story. But that narrative has collapsed in ways unimaginable to anyone in a pre-2001 world. Our political and economic systems are unfit to tackle domestic problems, let alone global ones (global warming and austerity). Curtis doesn't really say whether this is a bad or good thing, and I'm not sure either. Do people want to live like this? That could be the case. But before the viewer can start to think about their answer they must first recognize the question, and HyperNormalisation deftly sets up the premise. I am sure this film will continue to predict the future.

Howard Schultz entire campaign strategy is questions aren't important, only answers. It's like Schultz watched this film and came away with the completely wrong message (or right depending on your perspective and narcissism.) It's be akin to someone watching Starship Troopers and wanting to join the military, or getting a swastika tattoo after viewing American History X.

One of my favorite moments of the documentary were the parts outlining the Reagan admin's role in pushing UFO conspiracy theories, using the public as a guinea pig to see just how far misinformation can go to turn people into near fanatics about something that is on it's face completely nonsensical. And the administration succeeded wildly.
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Complete lefty crap
namstonk21 August 2018
So the hype/tagline opening narration is "How we got to this strange time of great uncertainty and confusion where those who are supposed to be in power are paralysed and have no idea what to do". Utter twaddle and typical from a BBC suck-up. He lumps everything into everthing, nations, politicians all did the same in his sole thinking, with conjecture and almost becoming a parody of documentary Curtis only makes you angry as he has no clue to the working man and the working world.
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When Delusions lead to paranoid
krishna_limsakdakul6 November 2016
If you press a mute button from start to end of this film you could easily come up with more than a hundred and two tales or narratives. Bits and pieces of everything from news clips, ads, horror films, etc are taken out of their contexts and squeezed into a conspiracy theme, stretched out to a very dull, incoherent and lengthy yarn without any clear cut definitions or objectives except to scare viewers out of their wits. There are plenty of wits and imagination in this film. However, the real world is not causal and two dimensional. Curtis appears to ignore the fact that politics is a game of interests where the rules are ever changing. The game-changers are not always politicians or financial behemoths. Events can take on their own momentum without any ultimate goals. Consequences could be catastrophic and beyond anybody's controls. This film is definitely not a documentary that anyone can rely on to verify any information. If anything, it only sheds light on the increasingly deluded mind of Curtis whose obsession with hidden sinister global manipulators borders on a sense of paranoid. This feeling of insecurity is exactly what he wants to evoke among viewers. He's been trying to do just that since his first film "The Century of Self" over a decade ago. To be fair, I don't think Curtis himself has any cruel intention that he wants to impose on global population. Ambitious as he is, it's obvious from all his efforts that Curtis himself can't even separate facts from fantasy. You can find thousands of similar "documentaries" to this "Hyper-Normalisation" on Youtube.
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propaganda but true
yusef-ghanima11 April 2017
this is probably a Saudi propaganda to get rid of Bashar Asad, but that doesn't mean its false. the Asad family is a major link between terrorist networks both Shia and communist since the early 1970s. the documentary fail to mention that Palestinian Marxist organizations led by Christians and strongly connected to KGB and Syria hijacked planes and conducted terrorist acts in Europe in the early 1970s. but that doesn't mean that Libya wasn't connected to terrorist groups, specially Abu Nedhal. the documentary wasn't accurate on this Libyan point. and the jasmine revolution or Arab spring in Tunisia was before the occupy movement, and didn't learn anything from it. important factors for it that the documentary failed to mention are cell phone messaging and Wikileaks on Tunisian officials. otherwise the film was interesting with some new info even for an old Arab like me.
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