Movie Review: “Totally Under Control”

“Totally Under Control” breaks down the events of the pandemic. Photo by CDC from

“Totally Under Control” is a documentary film that was released on Oct. 13; the film focuses on the COVID-19 pandemic and the White House’s response. The film was entirely shot and edited during the pandemic remotely and in secret. The film was, in part, directed by Alex Gibney; he is a well-known documentarian who had directed a number of films, including the 2006 documentary “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room,” which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. The film features a number of interviews including one with Rick Bright, a whistleblower who claimed the President’s administration ignored his warnings about the pandemic while he was working in a government position.

The film is a timeline of events from the pandemic starting in January all the way through the end of September. The day after the film was completed, President Trump announced that both he and his wife had tested positive for COVID-19. The timeline focuses on events that happened in the United States or that directly affected the pandemic in the United States; the film also compared the United States to South Korea, the way the pandemic affected each country and how it was handled in each. Unlike the United States, South Korea was able to quickly get ahold of and slow the spread of COVID-19. Because of this, South Korea has had far fewer cases and lost far fewer lives than the United States.

Though the film is about the pandemic in the United States, it focuses more on the government’s role in the pandemic; the film details what the government did wrong in attempting to prevent this virus from doing all the damage it has done in this country. The film also outlines to what extent the President knew about this virus and how early. The film ends with a recording of President Trump from an interview on Feb. 7, before anyone in the United States had died from the virus. Trump specifically states in the interview that the virus does travel through the air and is incredibly deadly; this is evidence that despite all of the misinformation and confusion, the President knew how bad this virus was and what it could do before anyone in the United States died.

I recommend watching this movie because it provides a concise timeline of the events that took place during the pandemic, and the film cuts through all of the conflicting stories to tell what has really occurred. I also think it can provide insight into who is truly at fault for the effects of the pandemic on this country. Last, the film provides the perspectives of people who witnessed the government’s response to the pandemic and the ones working on the frontlines fighting it.

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