Made in secrecy during the past 6 months with interviews from administration insiders
Just when it seemed like 2020 could not get any stranger, President Donald Trump announced via Twitter on October 2nd that he and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for COVID-19. In what some would see as a ‘karmic’ coincidence, within twenty-four hours of this breaking news, Neon media dropped a trailer for the new documentary “Totally Under Control,” which focuses on the President and his administration’s unsuccessful response to the coronavirus.
“Totally Under Control” is the second Trump-focused project from documentarian Alex Gibney. Earlier this year, the director released “Agents Of Chaos,” an HBO mini-series centered on Russian involvement in the 2016 election. Gibney is also responsible for the 2010 Oscar nominated doc, “Client 9: The Rise And Fall Of Eliot Spitzer” and the 2007 Oscar winner, “Taxi To The Dark Side.” Most of his films take on timely topics through an investigative lens. “Totally Under Control” will be no different.
Unsurprisingly, Gibney latest movie condemns the Trump administration, as it chronicles how the President handled the coronavirus across the first half of 2020. Its synopsis states:
“On January 20th, 2020 the US and South Korea both discovered their first cases of COVID-19. However, nine months later, the novel Coronavirus has claimed the lives of over 200,000 Americans and caused staggering economic damage, while in South Korea, there were no significant lockdowns and, in an urbanized population of 51 million, only 344 lives have been lost. Where did we go wrong?”
The film aims to answer this question and shed light on America’s complicated, corrupted, and fruitless reaction to the global pandemic. To do this, Gibney uses news footage from the past ten months— much of it showing Trump’s early, woefully dismissive thoughts on the coronavirus before it hit the United States.
He also interviews experts from doctors, to scientists, to government officials, all of whom agree that the current administration’s reaction to COVID was absolutely abhorrent from the start.
The trailer plays out like that of a disaster movie, beginning with former Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority leader, Rick Bright explaining, “The scientists knew what to do for the pandemic response. The plan was in front of us, but leadership would not do it.” Bright goes on to recall how he tired bringing this vital information to the public, but was consequentially fired from his federal position.
As the trailer unfolds, the music gets more and more intense. The interviewees retell the all-too-familiar 2020 story of how COVID got worse by the day and the United States government did nothing to combat it. Meanwhile, quasi-apocalyptic images of ubiquitous ambulances, omnipresent sirens, medial personnel in hazmat suits, restless political rallies, and so on flash across the screen.
All the while, Trump’s voice comes in and out with infamous phrases such as “It will disappear,” “It will be wonderful,” and most egregiously, “I don’t take responsibility at all.”
Art imitates life as covid disbeliever enters hospital after contracting virus that affects ‘almost nobody’
Today, these statements are more ironic than ever before, as Trump himself has been checked into the Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland for COVID. The diagnosis occurred just two days after the first presidential debate, where Trump continued to downplay the coronavirus in favor of reopening the country.
“Totally Under Control” will be available On-Demand starting October 13th and will stream on Hulu starting October 20th. Although the film focuses on current (and ongoing) events, it is not the first piece of media to tackle the coronavirus, and it surely won’t be the last.
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