Erasing David

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Facts and Figures

Genre: Documentaries

In Theaters: Sunday 26th September 2010

Distributed by: Film Buff

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

IMDB: 6.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: David Bond

Producer:

Erasing David Movie Review


This lively British documentary is assembled in an entertaining way that keeps us gripped while it explores big issues that affect our everyday lives.

Although the film's perhaps too tricky for its own good.

To test the reach of the information-gathering systems, David Bond leaves his pregnant wife Katie and young child behind and drops off the grid. He assigns a team of top private investigators (led by Mee and Gowlett) with the task of tracking him down. But can he have both a normal life and true privacy or is everything about him already publicly available? And how have we let society get to this point?

This central story is told like a somewhat over-hyped thriller, shot with gimmicks that add overwrought urgency, even though there's never any actual tension. It doesn't help that the narrative is interrupted with clips from interviews Bond conducted before going on his odyssey. The crosscutting is rather jarring, even though the material is all very strong, adding humour and context through natural interaction. The best scenes are the fly-on-the-wall conversations between Bond and his wife.

The film is sparked by the fear that the data out there could be used against us. We don't even think about the information stored about us until something happens; privacy isn't an issue until it's violated. But everyday things we do like logging into Facebook, buying things online or talking on our mobile phones leave us vulnerable to people trying to hack into our lives. Plus surveillance videos, our rubbish and DNA we leave behind us wherever we go. And all of these little details can be put together to make a terrifyingly thorough picture of us.

As he explores this, Bond's inquisitive curiosity is infectious. The most chilling sequences feature people who have found themselves with criminal records due to data-collection errors. But it's also frightening to see the massive quantity of information businesses and government agencies keep in storage. And as David's adventure leads him to a freaky cabin in Wales, he feels paranoid and, ironically, exposed. Clearly privacy isn't worth this, especially when it's impossible to live a normal life without leaving a data trail.


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