Film review – Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden? (2008)

Documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock is a more humourous yet less hard-hitting equivalent to Michael Moore. Nevertheless Super Size Me, Spurlock’s attack on the fast food industry, was very entertaining and possibly reached a section of the audience that a more serious film would not have. In his new film Spurlock travels to Egypt, Morocco, Israel, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and finally Pakistan to complete his self-assigned task of finding Osama Bin Laden.

However Spurlock’s real, and more worthy, agenda is to expose the hypocrisy behind the US government’s War on Terror and how the complicit Western media have demonised Islamic people. The result is mixed. Spurlock’s flippant and slightly contrived approach can often be annoying and his attempt to amp up the laughs with parody country songs and computer game animations of a dancing Bin Laden do not work.

But the film does succeed in capturing a wonderful assortment of interviews with people who speak candidly about terrorism, America and being Islamic. Spurlock’s genuine connection with a variety of people makes the world seem far less frightening than the terrorists and conservative governments would have you believe. 

Originally appeared in The Big Issue, No. 310, 2008

© Thomas Caldwell, 2008