Imminent Threat  Review – An interesting audio-visual assemblage that hits familiar notes
After watching Janek Ambros’ Mondo Hollywoodland and Money, Fascism, and Some Sort of Acid, I have come to realize that more than anything, he is an excellent editor. The aforementioned films and Imminent Threat – an hour-long documentary about the ‘War on Terror,’ are essentially collections of footage that have been assembled with such fine precision that there’s no way your attention would be diverted to something other than what’s on screen. And yet, with Imminent Threat I felt like I was left in split with the idea of being served an anti-dose of propaganda in the form of propaganda itself.
If I am not making myself clear. Let’s assume that you set out to see this film and are stunned by the kind of repressive and pressing issues it is talking about, only to be handed with uplifting music over distressing war footage. There is such a lapse between serious reportage, fact-based interviews, and satirical undertones that the viewer doesn’t know how to react to it.
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Co-produced by actor James Cromwell, Imminent Threat is broken into three chapters. Basically, it’s about the War on Terror is shown through the eyes of people who serve as a neutral ground between the far left and the far right as far as a political stand is concerned. It follows the blatant misuse of power by the US government post the 9/11 territory attack.
To give you more perspective, the first leg that talks about the War on Terror: Oversees has to be the strongest part of the film. While it doesn’t give more than the usual Wikipedia-level knowledge to the onlookers, the way it turns the narrative towards the drone strikes and how civilians were harmed – both under the Bush presidency and the Obama presidency, sure raises some eyebrows.
The metadata segment that forms the War on Terror: Home shows us how the government uses the personal information of its own citizens in the name of security. This segment is specially designed to present the conflicting image of the government as a body that doesn’t realize or fails to acknowledge that they are basically going against the constitution that they have sworn to abide by.
The last and final segment is constructed as a plea to the people on both spectrums of political standpoint to reevaluate their government by not blinding themselves to whataboutery. While the structure here works for most of the runtime, I am not sure if using the footage of protests and juxtaposing them with other discovered footage and clips from the internet really work in leaving the viewer with a ponderous point of view.
Imminent Threat glares down on one of the most important things that everyone in a democracy wishes for – personal freedom. Since the freedom of the press, freedom of expression, and equality are so often questioned on a daily basis, personal freedom can only be achieved when the two ends find a neutral ground to their respective egos. Janek Ambros’ film is not really successful in contouring that point across, but I would give it points for trying. It is an interesting audio-visual assemblage that too often hits familiar notes.