Remember Dr. Nancy Messonnier? Exactly. But there she was, the face of the CDC, warning of pandemic and closures necessary to contain it, back in February. FEBRUARY!
Messonnier was swiftly swept under the Trump carpet where all science based experts reside. It is a big carpet, with a growing bump. Huge bump. That is the sad crux of this documentary, a thorough, blow by blow spine-chilling COVID-19 dateline, and the shocking ineptitude and dangerous apathy from the Trump government (if you can call it that) in response. Not much new here for anyone keeping up with the news, fake or not, but when presented in a calm, simmering sequence, plays out like a bloody horror movie. Which, let's face it, it is.
"Totally Under Control" is an impressive cinematic achievement, stretched out like a real time news program, brimming with startlingly blunt interviews, thorough investigations, slick editing, and stunning clips. The parade of despondent experts daunting. The series of unfortunate events mind-boggling.
Just to rub salt deeper into the festering wound, an alternate reality, the successful South Korean response to the virus is not just eluded to, but is presented in all it's meticulous glory. A cold hard slap to the face of American foolishness. Ouch.
A series of bungles, lies, incompetencies, and cover ups, lead to a catastrophe most are still trying to properly comprehend. This is an utterly infuriating watch. A strong drink might help.
The dictatorial and abusive power wielded by the president is at the rotten core of this calamity, and filmmaker Alex Gibney eagerly lets The Don indict himself throughout. Repeatedly. Important agencies bow to his whims, try to massage (in vain) disasters, and for the most part, dare not contradict or question Trump for fear of reprisal. Those who do, are quickly dispatched. Fact or fiction? The lines are blurry.
Will a devastating pandemic that threatens to hurl America into full blown depression finally sway the Kool Aid drinkers, or is this the end of the greatest country in the world? We are about to find out. This important film is ample warning, and a primo election primer.