Totally Under Control examines America’s systemic failures within the first 100 days of the COVID-19 virus

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      Totally Under Control

      A documentary by Alex Gibney, Ophelia Harutyunyan, and Suzanne Hillinger. Streaming on VIFF Connect from Friday (October 30) to November 28. 

      Documentarian Alex Gibney (The Armstrong LieGoing Clear: Scientology And The Prison Of Belief) adds COVID-19 to his catalogue of studies of devastating systemic failures with this look at America’s first 100 days with the virus.

      The difference here is that Gibney and co-directors Harutyunyan and Hillinger didn’t have years to figure out their film’s structure, so Totally Under Control plays like a straight tick-tock of failures to act on clear warnings and Trump appointees making political decisions. And Trump himself derails the conversation by promoting whatever quack remedy he just heard about on Fox News.

      The film’s thesis—that Trump was fixated on keeping the economy strong to secure his re-election in November—is pretty hard to counter, especially when dozens of interview subjects keep bringing it up.

      And through it all, the coronavirus just burns through American cities, crushing the health-care system and infecting people even if they they think it’s a hoax. Straightforward and effective, a couple of puckish Michael Moore-style musical cues notwithstanding.