Loose Change 2nd Edition AKA Loose Change: Second Edition
R4 - Australia - DV1
Review written by and copyright: TJ McDonald & Noor Razzak (7th January 2007).
The Film

Dylan Avery's Loose Change is, like pornography, an unfortunate consequence of freedom of speech. If the American Government had simply listened to me we could have stopped this documentary from ever being made. By passing a law that required all conspiracy theory-based films to be directed by Oliver Stone we could have at least insured that that film would have been of a decent quality and, hopefully, so bloody long that only those movie buffs with the stamina to actually sit through it would be forced to review it and those of us like me would have been spared.
Loose Change is a documentary that claims the events of 11th September 2001 were orchestrated by the government of the United States of America with the object of allowing said government more draconian controls over its citizenry and establishing a justification for war. There are many, many factual debunkings of this documentary available both online and in paper form – I suggest a quick google search of the topic, as they are written by people who are a lot smarter and a lot more patient than I am, and I will not delve into those details here. Instead, I would like to have a look at how it is this kind of conspiracy-doco could only be made now and ultimately why Loose Change should be watched and discussed by everyone.
I dont know exactly why conspiracy theories occur, but in my research on the topic I found a viewpoint that I consider to be both interesting and highly plausible. The argument is that psychologically it is difficult for us to accept that small causes can have huge effects, and that this problem is magnified at a group level. We simply do not accept that for instance - one man can kill a President or that so few can kill so many. So we see these huge effects and subconsciously flail around for a cause worthy of such a disaster and the conspiracy theory provides this cause (often the more complicated the theory, the better).
In the past, however, it has taken a relatively long time for these theories to coalesce as distance is put between the event and the present, and the story becomes part myth. Then the cause can be added - then the moral can be found. It seems to me unlikely that the moon landing was called a hoax on the 22nd July 1969 (but in all fairness, I was not there at the time). So why is it then that the 9/11 conspiracy theory has come about so rapidly? In part it is because of the web the rapid sharing of viewpoint and data (both reliable and unreliable) has meant that these more extreme ideas can balloon much quicker; but also I believe it is because of the events that followed 9/11 and for this I offer my own personal theory.
I believe that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (as well as the overall war on terror) shifted the cause and effect balance in the collective mind of the American public. 9/11 was the huge cause and the fight against global terrorism was the effect both were of such a large scale as to balance somewhat. However, more recently the War on Terror has drifted out of the spotlight and public opinion has turned heavily against military involvement in the Middle East. As a consequence 9/11 became unbalanced in the public psyche, with no anchoring cause and no worthy effect; hence the arrival of the conspiracy theory as an attempt to imbue some deeper meaning to the events of that tragic day. But this is just my view, and this is the reason why I believe Loose Change should be watched. Not because it provides some revelation on its subject matter, but because it provides some revelation on the nature of our society and how, as a culture, we try to heal from the wounds inflicted upon us.

Video

Presented in the films original ratio of 1.78:1, this anamorphic transfer is choppy at best combining miniDV shot footage with all kinds of archival footage, security camera footage, etc. The results vary from shot to shot and can at times be distracting, admittedly the source materials for this footage isn't the best and so we have to simply have to deal with it. The interview footage shot on miniDV also tends to fluctuate from average quality to something slightly better, some of the interviews appeared hazy and not as sharp I expected.

Audio

Only one audio track is included an English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track, considering this is a dialogue heavy documentary this all that is actually required for this film, the film also includes some music by way of hip hop style beats to underscore the narrator, this comes across well but is occasionally annoying. It lacks depth as one could expect but the dialogue is clear and distortion free and that's all that one could really ask for in this case.
This disc does not feature any optional subtitles.

Extras

DV1 has included only a small handful of extras that includes three featurettes plus some text notes. Below is a closer look at these supplements.

First up we have "Return to Ground Zero" a featurette that runs for 22 minutes 2 seconds, in this clip the filmmakers return to ground zero on September 11, 2005 in order to promote a free test screening of the film. They travel by subway plastering posters at each stop, finally while at the site of ground zero they get into arguments with other members of the public including a rather fat member of the FDNY who gets quite fired up about their presence and disturbing people that are trying to morn the loss of friends and family as the filmmakers try to defend their point. This clip often features hip hip style music which tries to compliment the occasionally boring parts of the filmmakers plastering the subway stations with their posters and also of them walking around the site.

Next up is "St. Mark's Church" a featurette which runs for 4 minutes 40 seconds, in this clip the filmmakers talk with a firefighter who was at the World Trade Center when it collapsed and is interested in finding out what really happened as he commends these guys on their film among other things.

Following that is "Flight 93 Premiere - Tribeca NYC" a featurette which runs for 29 minutes 15 seconds, here the filmmakers try to protest the film "United 93" (2006) as they try to hand out free copies of the film to general public as security pushes them further and further away from the red carpet. To be honest this clip is repetitive and it's worth you're while to keep your finger on the fast forward button, one of the redeeming aspects of this clip is the really hot lady journalist that takes their statements near the beginning of the clip.

Rounding out the extras is a "Filmmaker's Statement" 5 pages of text notes about what they hope to achieve from this film.

Overall

It's not worth repeating what was said in the review of the film itself, but on the extras front I wasn't impressed with the overall quality of the extras, they were occasionally repetitive, how many times to I have to hear these guys try to give away free copies of the movie and state their case over and over and OVER AGAIN? These featurettes felt like watching someone's lame home videos more than anything else.

The Film: D- Video: C+ Audio: B Extras: D+ Overall: D+

 


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