Judge Adam Arseneau is a card-carrying member of the Illuminati. Wait, hold on...that's just a library card.
What do you believe?
As a society and as an individual, our collective need to believe in conspiracy is great. Rubbish, you say? Then by all logic, Dan Brown should be naught but a humble English professor. Checkmate, I say. Enter New World Order, a documentary by filmmakers Luke Meyer and Andrew Neel (Darkon) obsessed with conspiracy, government plots, secretive plots to take over the world and uncovering the truth behind the attacks of September 11th.
If you haven't bought any guns before reading this review, go get them now. The Info Wars have begun, and tyranny is afoot!
Facts of the Case
New World Order chronicles the daily routine of activist and talk radio host Alex Jones (Waking Life, A Scanner Darkly) and his like-minded freedom fighters, journalist Jim Tucker, Jack McLamb, Luke Rudowski, and Timuçin Leflef as they ceaselessly quest to expose a "massive global conspiracy" that they believe threatens the future of humanity.
A behind-the-scenes look at the underground anti-globalist movement, New World Order focuses on Jones and his associates attempting to expose the truth behind the Bilderberg conference, the 9/11 attacks and other conspiracies as examples of a global conspiracy. They rally, they protest, they stand on street corners handing out free DVDs and literature, they broadcast on the radio and on the internet—anything to get the truth out to the people.
It's a hard, thankless life, especially when everyone thinks you're a nut, but Jones and the others are undeterred. This is the future of the world they are fighting for, and they will not rest until the New World Order is exposed for all to see.
In terms of self-advertisement, a documentary with a title like New World Order is a bit of a feint. One easily believes the documentary will argue the validity of a particular crazed world view, of the existence of a secretive group hell-bent on shaping the world to their interests. In stark contrast, we find a surprisingly complex and introspective character study into the people consumed by such ideas: activists, radio hosts, journalists, conspiracy theorists, all of whom devote every waking moment to a task they believe in their heart to be the most imperative and righteous of assignments—getting the truth out.
It is near impossible to peg these individuals into the convention political spectrum of left-winged or right-winged ideologies. After all, these are the folk who insist the illusion of choice in government is part of the very conspiracy they are sworn to unravel. Fiercely constitutionalist, isolationist, anti-government and anti-establishment, their views are radical and anarchistic, yet oddly patriotic and principled. One could call them "libertarians," but most of the people featured in New World Order make Ron Paul look like Uncle Sam. However you decide to label them, they all share a similar deep-seated belief: America is being destroyed from the inside out, and they have a sworn duty to fight at all costs.
New World Order quickly establishes these people as the actual subject of the film—their lives, their day-to-day activities, their endless quest to uncover the secrets of the world and reveal them to the public—and pays less attention to the validity or logisc of their convictions themselves. It is not always flattering to its subjects or to their cause, New World Order is a well-executed and balanced documentary, in that it stands back and lets its subjects do all the talking. Jones and his like-minded soldiers come across natural and honest, vehemently outspoken about what they believe in, and ask for no apology. The film is careful to allow their views ample expression, and never passes judgment on their beliefs—it does not challenge or contradict their views, or attack their logic. New World Order observes, quietly, empirically.
Every interaction is greeted with suspicion, every new face a possible secret enemy, every conversation a possible entrapment. Every shadowy figure, every parked car, and every lurking set of eyes are immediately marked as a government spy: FBI, CIA, Secret Service, IRS—all of them are in on it. The sheer paranoia is outstanding. Everything is tape recorded, filmed, photographed. They distribute literature and propaganda for their cause, paid out of pocket, and carry copies of the Constitution and legal court transcripts with them at all times, to show any officers who try and encroach their freedoms. Many will call their cause misguided, but it's hard not to be in awe of such dedication and passion. For Jones and his like, this isn't a hobby—they need to find the truth the way most people "need" to breathe.
New World Order won't make you believe in the Bilderberg Group conspiracy, or that Zionists are running the planet or any of the other suggestions tossed about, but there is plenty of fascination to be found all the same. The notion that our lives are not our own, that events are being controlled above our perceptions, is an almost universal paranoia for men and women worldwide. New World Order is a fascinating film, if only for asking the right questions: forget about who is really running the World Bank—who are the people leaving those fliers posted around town? What are their lives like? What makes them do what they do? And as crazy as it all sounds, why do we all eventually consider (if only for a split second) the possibility that maybe, just maybe, they could be right?
As bizarre as some of these claims seem, it's hard not to find some weird sympathy for these proponents of conspiracy, some connection with their crusades, as bizarre and surreal as they seem. There is such desperation in their action, a fanatical conviction extending beyond all logic and common sense, polarizing them into unflinching devotion to liberty and freedom; an endless fight against an invisible enemy. These men and women are the perpetual underdogs, forever tilting at windmills. It's very quixotic. How can you not root for them, if only just a little?
Presented in an anamorphic transfer, the picture is clean and clear, with natural color tone and handheld camera work following about its subjects during their daily routine. Black levels are acceptable for a documentary, and the level of detail is more than acceptable, the high definition source transferring very well to DVD. Some of the static shots interviews are downright superb in their contrast, detail and fidelity. Like all documentaries, stock footage, newsreel and other included footage varies from scene to scene. Audio comes in a simple stereo presentation with average bass response and clear dialogue. Some occasional outbursts (like Jones at a rally) cause some crackling and distortion, but nothing too terrible. Subtitles would have been a plus, but are not included.
Roughly thirty minutes of extra material is included on the disc by way of deleted scenes, seven in all (with no "play all" feature). The curious will be happy to have the extended footage, but on examination, it's easy to see why they got cut from the film.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
It will be interesting to see how followers of Alex Jones and other likeminded individuals will react to New World Order. From a film critic standpoint, the documentary is remarkably even-tempered and honest about its subject, never passing judgment on politics one way or the other—hardly a slam-dunk propaganda piece. One cannot help but wonder if advocates of freedom and liberty, possibly hoping that New World Order can become a shining beacon for the cause, may end up deriding and criticizing the film for perceived weakness and subjective tones.
Apolitical to the end, New World Order ends almost arbitrarily, allowing audiences to come to their own conclusions about what to believe. Are followers of Alex Jones and likeminded individuals going to appreciate the introspective and somber spirit in which this film was created? Or will they lambast and attack it for being soft and weak? I can't wait to find out.
A fascinating and compelling look into the fringe areas of political activism, New World Order approaches its subject with aplomb and an open mind. It is doubtful audiences will come away from this film convinced that 9/11 was an inside job, but it is impossible to dispute the clinical fascination in observing those who truly do believe it, and how hard they struggle to make us all believers.
Our verdict would be "not guilty," but since no one in New World Order recognizes the authority of this fascist court, it's a moot point. For all they know, we're part of the conspiracy.
For the record: We're not. But that's probably exactly what you'd expect us
to say, isn't it? I see how this works now.
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