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totally under control



REVIEWER: lyall carter

Public health officials discuss the U.S. government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In election year in the US you can expect a few partisan documentaries to hit cinemas, our TV or streaming screens. But due to the COVID - 19 this election is unlike any that we've ever seen before. And Totally Under Control is unlike any documentary you would have seen. One that Trump will probably not want to watch, but you definitely need to see to believe. 

On January 20th, 2020 the US and South Korea both discovered their first cases of COVID-19.


However, 9 months later, the novel Coronavirus has claimed the lives of over 210,000

Americans and caused staggering economic damage, while in South Korea, there were no

significant lockdowns and, in a population of 51 million, only 344 lives have been lost.


Totally Under Control asks one, fundamental question. Where did the US go wrong?

Approaching the subject in a clear, level headed manner Academy Award-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney, directing with Ophelia Harutyunyan and Suzanne Hillinger, Gibney largely strips the COVID - 19 response in the US of partisan politics, instead focusing on the testimonies of the major players.


Interviewing everyone from front line medical workers to health officials and infectious disease experts, Gibney expertly and methodically documents the outbreak of COVID - 19 in China to its arrival and subsequent devastating sweep through the USA.

The pandemic crisis in the US wasn't just down to a couple of failures but multiple failures from a severely bureaucratic government health response, to several failures in the testing process and a lack of supply of effective PPE with a White House administration focused on re-election instead of the crisis. 


It truly is a devastating and sobering watch witnessing how, at so many junctions, this crisis could have been avoided. To realise that the US has only 4% of the world’s population but accounts for 21% of Covid deaths is devastating. It is also sobering to realise what could of happened in New Zealand if we had not had the governmental and health response that we had.

A devastating film, Totally Under Control is a stark expose of the catastrophic blunders on so many levels that saw the COVID - 19 pandemic spiral out of control in the US. One of the best documentaries of 2020. Demands to be seen. 


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