Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World (2016)

More educative than cinematic, Herzog’s documentary about technology, particularly the affordances and perils of the Internet, lacks the cutting-edge incisiveness of more well-developed treatises on the subject.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Review #2,280

Dir. Werner Herzog
2016 | USA | Documentary | 98 mins | 1.78:1 | English
PG (passed clean)

Plot: Society depends on the Internet for nearly everything but rarely do we step back and recognize its endless intricacies and unsettling omnipotence.
Awards: Official Selection (Sundance)
International Sales: Magnolia Pictures Intl

Accessibility Index
Subject Matter: Moderate – Internet; Technology, the Future
Narrative Style: Straightforward
Pace: Slightly Slow
Audience Type: Slightly Mainstream

Viewed: MUBI
Spoilers: No

Not everything that Werner Herzog touches becomes gold.  Presented by NETSCOUT, this informative documentary is precisely that—educational and aimed at a general audience that might lose interest after a while. 

It is not a particularly engaging work, with its educative qualities disguised as artistic merit.  There is nothing cinematic about Herzog’s approach here, which for most parts, makes it an uninteresting watch. 

Still, if you like to revel in scientific knowledge and interesting trivia about the world that we live in, Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World is still worth a peek.  The subject matter here is science and technology, with a strong focus on the Internet, particularly its affordances and perils. 

“As the machines are becoming smarter, I think people want to become smarter.”

Told in ten brief chapters, Herzog’s effort straddles several areas, including information hacking, artificial intelligence and also a small community of people suffering from an inexplicable ailment. 

It’s rather messy, sometimes airy-fairy, an amalgamation of fragmented ideas that don’t seem to contribute to the whole, that is, if we think of the whole as having a point-of-view. 

It’s one thing to be curious, which Herzog has an infinite capacity for, but another thing altogether to know what a piece of work wants to say at the end of the day. 

In that regard,  Lo and Behold lacks the cutting-edge incisiveness of more well-developed and focused treatises on the subject.  Sure, we get a sense of where the world is careening towards, but the documentary feels likes an excuse for macho posturing here, in this case, mostly nerds, young and old, who want to impress the great man behind the camera.

Grade: C+



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