An excellent rabble rouser. This rabble is well and truly roused!
The Michael Moore lineage of juxtaposing appalling fact with the absurd (demonstrating that the two are by no means mutually exclusive) is unashamed and the film doesn't pretend to be in any way objective in its portrayal of the Blair government's erosion of civil liberties in UK.
However it makes enough salient points to more than get away with this in my view and simultaneously manages to avert its own anus in the self-righteous stakes, although the overuse of animation borders on the annoying at times, much as Michael Moore's visual gimmicks ridiculing human beings often jib, and the coverage of the Counter Terrorism exhibition came across as somewhat amateurish and surprisingly underexploited as a rich vein of material.
This is one of those instances moreover where the facts of the subject matter are often so horrifying in themselves, such as the 'terror' detainees who have lost years of their lives imprisoned and subjected to maltreatment without charge, and the deliberately-targeted arrest of the octogenarian WWII pilot for daring to protest against an element of society he never fought for, that scarcely any dramatization is needed.
Although it ultimately came across as a bit of a pro-mo for Amnesty and Anti-Iraq war protesters (and why not?), I was surprised there was no allusion to the animal rights protesters, anti-globalisation protestors and others similarly being mislawfully persecuted in their right to peaceful protest by our boys in blue.
It was however, gratifying to note that my long-held suspicion that the Police have become a state and corporate private security force and are no longer 'servants of the people' who pay their wages via our taxes, is not just a conspiracy theory in my own head, but in the heads of a growing number of fellow citizens and backed up by increasing evidence to this effect! As if it's not bad enough that those we elect to represent us couldn't care tuppence about serving us (rather than themselves) and honouring our rights as citizens, our own Police force is quite happy to treat us as criminals - presumably to save time later - when they outrage us enough to actually *become* outlaws!
Then again there is only so much material that can be squeezed into 120 minutes and this film did a reasonable job of covering the topics it set out to cover, though perhaps it could have squeezed a bit more in with fewer animations! Such as the way the state has actively sought to 'dumb down' the populace to gain more control over our lives with idiotic laws, lower exam passes, fancier job titles, more buzz words and hype to distract from substance extraction, greater persecution of the law abiding, and enough red tape to help us lose the will to live if all else fails to crush our spirit - all no doubt to ease the relentless march of the ID card and national human database (another disastrous long-term policy for UK, but who cares about the long-term?).
Great to see right-on band Seize the Day with the Shackle Shuffle (aka Guantanamo). Funny indeed how such catchy tunes never make mainstream pop station playlists when gangsta rap quite happily celebrates non-state violence - many times a day!
The Mark Thomas contribution was inspired and I am thinking as I pen this of my contribution to his mass monthly individual London protest. 'Periwigs for all Men' springs to mind, though I'd quite like to protest against all this societal shallowness and inappropriate post-ironic humour which has claimed me also as its victim if I can think of something suitably snappy in the buzzword dept. I'm sure I would have been a lot smarter had I been immunized against the all-pervasive and perverted kultcha of TB before the rot took hold.
Watch Taking Liberties, and lol after, if you still can. If you're as disturbed as I am by what I thought I already knew, see you at a protest soon.
In the immemorial words of Tony Hancock (also woven into the film) " Did Magna Carter mean nothing to you? Did she die in vain?"
Use it or lose it, indeed.