I find it intensely irritating and needlessly manipulative when emotional heart strings are plucked in a documentary, for me it usually taints the actual work (rightly or wrongly). Just give me the facts, don’t get me all teary! This documentary begins with a call from someone about to die in the World Trade Centre. Incredibly disturbing and very unpleasant.
Why the makers of Zero: An Investigation Into 9/11 felt the need for this sort of behaviour is beyond me as there is enough content presented to keep the viewer engaged. Whether or not you’ll “buy” all the info on display here is one thing (and not really pertinent for this review) but what cannot be denied is the passion and belief of the people involved.
The mission, if you like, is to draw attention to the numerous “gaps” in the logic of the events that took place on September 11, 2001; that is the information released by the US government. These guys aren’t happy with the “facts” regarding the various plane crashes and question a seemingly unending list of irregularities therein.
But this is no group of crackpot conspiracists; they’ve got Gore Vidal and Nobel Prize winner Dario Fo on their side, along with numerous other Governmental aides, army officers and witnesses. Their testimony is resolute but it also problematic. Step up the aforementioned Dario Fo – an Italian who would give Roberto Benigni a run for his money in the odd behaviour stakes.
As he presents his evidence and corroborated opinion, Fo laughs like smug teenager who is winning a battle with a parent/teacher. Frankly his levity does him no justice and can render his argument redundant (no matter how valid it is). Someone should have told him that laughing at what he believes to be obvious injustices detracts from the worthy message and only fans the flames of detractors.
Irritation is also present in the general style of Zero; too much inappropriate dance music and out of focus inter-titles along with words, just spoken, highlighted on the screen, wobbling around. Distracting and unnecessary.
When it comes to the ‘story’ that the Italians are trying to tell, there are omissions. No mention at all is made of the fourth plane that went down in the countryside and they only briefly mention the WTC 7 building which also inexplicably collapsed on 9/11. The collapse of WTC 1 & 2 have been widely debated many times with no one side being ‘right’ so, for me, there was no real point to going over it again. However if you don’t know anything about the perceived irregularities, this is a good place to start.
The filmmakers should have concentrated their testimony on the Pentagon attack, the FBI’s list of terrorists who were involved (some of whom were actually alive, not to mention innocent, when reported to be dead) and the WTC 7 building – topics which have only been touched upon elsewhere. These seem to be where the real questions lie, as the destruction of the WTC buildings have professionals on both sides of the argument (though not presented here) who will claim the opposite of what the other states.
Despite all my quibbles, it’s still a fascinating watch. They have tried to pack too much into one feature and, perhaps, a trilogy of documentaries would have been suitable. If you’ve seen Loose Change (another very similar) then most of this will not be new to you though the evidence is presented more coherently and professionally in Zero. Regardless if you think there’s a conspiracy or not, after watching this you will have many questions you will want answered – which I suppose is the point of the whole truth movement and I applaud them for it.
EXTRAS Despite the wealth of material available, the producers of this disc have chosen to leave out the extras. Very poor form indeed.
Feature:Extras: No stars.
Zero: An Investigation Into 9-11 is available now.