Orwell Rolls in His Grave

"Weak"

Orwell Rolls in His Grave Review


As cliches go, you couldn't find a more overused and less eloquent one to use as the title of your movie than Orwell Rolls in His Grave. Alas, Robert Kane Pappas' meditation on paranoia has other flaws than its hair-tearing title.

In the wake of Fahrenheit 9/11's success, expect to see dozens of movies like this to hit the scene in short order. Orwell doesn't necessarily pillory George W. Bush, though. Pappas is keen on implicating the media as complicit in keeping the two party system alive and well and, by extension, in handing Bush the presidency.

But Pappas' arguments are weak at best, blatantly wrong at worst. For starters, he trots out the good old "all the media is run by big conglomerates" theory as his thesis. Then he zooms in on a passage from... The New York Times, which isn't owned by Rupert Murdoch or AOL. It's an independent company. So are lots of other magazines and papers. Sure, TV is a boondoggle run by the giants, but Pappas' blanket damnation of all media just doesn't wash.

A big example doesn't fly either: One of Pappas' subjects exclaims that Bush's cutting of the estate tax never got reported in the media. Huh? The estate tax cut was pretty universally known. I'd say it has suffered from media overexposure. And then Pappas apparently forgets his point by showing a video of Bush giving a speech about the tax cut! If the media didn't report it, what the hell are we watching? Pappas is like a broken record: He states that the media didn't cover a certain topic, then he shows a close-up of a newspaper story covering that topic. What? You just contradicted yourself in the space of three seconds, Bob.

Another key point of Pappas, inexplicably, states that the media has not reported on American jobs being outsourced to foreign countries (because the media is beholden to corporate interests, natch). Are you freakin' kidding me? If any issue has gotten more play in the business press this year, it's the outsourcing issue. Two huge chunks of the movie are derailed by long tangents into the played-out "Bush stole the election" news and, believe it or not, Reagan's manipulation of the Iran hostage crisis in 1980. Both of these have been covered ad nauseam in the press. Pappas claims that no one ever wrote about either of them. Does anyone buy this? Perhaps that sustained bass tone that echoes through the whole film will convince you it's true.

Pappas' movie isn't just lazy filmmaking, it's nonsense. Sadly, his few good points are buried under a pile of junk that's just plain wrong. His most salient issue attacks the idea of "liberal bias" in the media. While it's true that many individual reporters are liberals, the majority of media outlets they work for are generally conservative at the top levels. The idea of bias is a bit of a joke, he says, propogated by the right. Pappas also provides some good insight into Michael Powell's mismanagement of the FCC and the outcry over (and overturning of) his mega-deregulation policies.

The movie itself is largely talking heads, separated by title cards with kooky writing and quotes from 1984. Pappas' reliance on showing us shots of newspapers gets tiresome quickly -- but watch for one story he uses to back up his ideas: It's written by noted fabricator Jayson Blair!

Folks, Orwell probably is rolling in his grave, not because 1984 has come to be, but because his name is attached to such a lame movie.

For a much more insightful look at media manipulation, check out the 1992 documentary Manufacturing Consent.



Orwell Rolls in His Grave

Facts and Figures

Run time: 84 mins

In Theaters: Friday 19th November 2004

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 79%
Fresh: 19 Rotten: 5

IMDB: 8.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: Charles Lewis as Himself, Founder of the Center for Public Integrity, as Himself, Professor at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as Himself, Professor at New York University, as Himself, Congressman for Vermont, as Himself, as Himself, Dennis Kucinich as Himself, Congressman for Ohio, Mark Lloyd as Himself, Visiting Professor at Massachussets Institute of Technology, as Himself, as Himself, as Himself, as Himself, Helen Thomas as Herself, as Himself

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

The latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's 83-year-old classic whodunit, this lavish, star-studded film is old-style...

Paddington 2 Movie Review

Paddington 2 Movie Review

The first Paddington movie in 2014 is already such a beloved classic that it's hard...

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

Everyone's back from last year's undemanding adult comedy, plus some starry new cast members, for...

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Filmmaker S. Craig Zahler brought a blast of offbeat creativity to the Western genre two...

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

Fans of the film In the Loop and the TV series Veep will definitely not...

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Set in northern Italy in the summer of 1983, this internationally flavoured drama is a...

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

The most riotously enjoyable Marvel movie yet, this action epic benefits hugely from the decision...

Advertisement
Breathe Movie Review

Breathe Movie Review

While this biopic has the standard sumptuous production values of a British period drama, it's...

The Snowman Movie Review

The Snowman Movie Review

With a cast and crew packed with A-list talent, this film seems like it should...

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.