x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

The Shock Doctrine

The Shock Doctrine has some trouble transfering from book to film

In her third book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, Naomi Klein exposes how the global free market uses disasters such as tsunamis, floods and wars to exploit the weak for the benefit of big business and powerful governments. The British filmmaker Michael Winterbottom and his protégé, Mat Whitecross (they directed The Road to Guantanamo together), were charged with adapting the book, and the marriage between hard-hitting filmmaker and firebrand author seemed a good one. Klein was slated to do the film's narration, but she was so disappointed in the results that she pulled her name from the credits. (This was perhaps a bit harsh, as it must be tough to make socioeconomic theory interesting to a wider audience.) The main thesis links the development of shock therapy treatment in the 1950s, military torture and the free market principals of Milton Friedman with the attempts since the seventies to use espionage, coercion and economic force to make countries accept American-style globalisation. While the book offered an intricate journey through globalisation, the film is more basic, at times to a fault. It contains an adequate collection of interviews, narration and archive footage, including Klein's speech at the University of Chicago, and it tries to update the book to show how Klein's theories have been put into practice in America's war on terror. It's really the bluffer's guide to Klein, useful for those looking for an introduction to the concepts but not much else.

The Shock Doctrine shows today at 4pm in the Emirates Palace auditorium and at 6pm Wednesday at Cinestar 1, Marina Mall.