Persons of Interest
Middle 40-60% of all time (see others with this rank)
2004 (click here to see all competition films from this year)
Alison Maclean, Tobius Perse, Laawrence Konner, Jackie Kelman, Daniel Massey, Richard Rutkowski, Sandrine Isambert
There is a neatly elegant simplicity to Persons of Inrerest which, filmmakers Alison Maclean and Tobias Perse utilize to sublime effect in depicting the human cost of the U.S. Justice Department's campaign against Arab or Muslim immigrants during the post�9/11 frenzy to combat terrorism, While few question the need to undertake measures to protect national security, the sweeping detention, arbitrary arrests and confinement (often without any family communication or legal representation), and subsequent deportation and/or ongoing imprisonment wake a mockery of fundamental American principles like the presumption of innocence.
Using a bare room and mostly static camera, the filmmakers record a series of encounters with a diverse range of detainees and family members and present them seemingly without much need for skill, But in fact, the superbly subtle and creative direction of these individual and ultimately cumulative portraits belies the effortless appearance of the presentation and produces a simultaneous poignancy and disbelieving outrage, Like me, you may feel that you already know all about the issues and experiences communicated in Persons of Interest. Think again. The specific details of these disrupted lives speak volumes. Truly, not since the massive internment of another ethnic group during World War II has the United States experienced such a massive assault on basic civil liberties.
Geoffrey Gilmore (see other films reviewed by the same reviewer)