Alex Gibney’s eye-opening documentary, made in secret, assembles a damning, if frustratingly incomplete, timeline of a government ill-equipped to deal with a deadly pandemic
Making a documentary that endeavors to tell the story of the coronavirus pandemic presents a litany of unique inherent challenges. To wit: the preponderance of misinformation swirling around the topic, a scope that encompasses every country on the face of the earth, the difficulty of shooting without infecting the crew or interview subjects, a breadth of crisis felt at both the highest institutional and most intimately personal levels, and the fact that no one knows whether we’re nearing the end, at some phase of the middle, or still working through the beginning. Alex Gibney, Ophelia Harutyunyan and Suzanne Hillinger’s new film Totally Under Control sneaks in a title card stating that Donald Trump announced his positive Covid-19 test the day after the production team called a wrap on editing. By the time it gets released online next week, several major developments may have already transpired. A glaring incompleteness could not be avoided – unless, of course, the directors had waited to roll cameras until some new status quo had been reached.