Friday, June 4, 2021

All Light, Everywhere Review: A Cinematic Documentary That Might Change Your Perspective

Release date: June 4, 2021
Running time: 109 minutes
Directed By: Theo Anthony

ALL LIGHT, EVERYWHERE is an exploration of the shared histories of cameras, weapons, policing, and justice.  As surveillance technologies become a fixture in every day life, the film interrogates the complexity of an objective point of view, probing the biases inherent in both human perception and the lens.

All Light, Everywhere is a striking piece of cinema, despite its documentary format.  As you would expect form a film about cameras, the movie has wonderful camera work and a cinematic quality to it  There is a level of care that you don't always see in a documentary, and you can tell that Theo Anthony was keenly interested in this subject matter.  The film looks at surveillance and cameras and tries to find the limits of perspective and what that can teach to us.  The movie is unstructured, with long forays into the history of and modern examples of surveillance technology.  And throughout this the film is accompanied by a beautiful soundtrack to match the cinematography. 

But an interesting choice that Theo made in creating this film is including information from a notable surveillance company Axon.  Axon is involved in police body cameras and other surveillance equipment, but the segment doesn't go as you would expect.  I thought we would have more about horrible body cam footage and instances of brutality, but the documentary chose to let Axon tell its own story from its own perpsective.  A spokesperson gives details about its products and demonstrates their use.  It is a notable goal to not change their perspective, but it leads to a long chunk in the film feeling like an info mercial for the compnay.  It wasn't jarring, it just felt off.  And All LIght, Everywhere, despite its expansive exploration also feels surprisingly unstructured.  The movie goes on long tangents and explorations that can lead to sequences that drag on longer than I thought necessary.  And All Light, Everywhere looks at some innovative products and definitley explores perspective and identity in our increasingly surveilled world.  But it also feels like this could have done with a little more structure in this exploration.

All Light, Everywhere is a beautiful, cinematic exploration of surveillance and perspective, that takes a while, but might just change your point of view.

Rent it.

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All Light, Everywhere is in theaters on June 4, 2021.  For showtimes, click here.

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