Review: HyperNormalisation – An Adam Curtis documentary

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The cult doc-maker explores the modern life in his latest gripping documentary.

By Daniel J Broadley
Photograph: BBC

Nothing ever changes. At least, that is according to Adam Curtis’s new bleak, eye opening documentary, HyperNormalisation, which premiered on BBC iPlayer this month.

Covering everything from the Middle East crisis, austerity, technology, social media, terrorism and, of course, Donald Trump, Adam Curtis steps back and takes a look at the state of the world and how all of these things are connected. And, more importantly, how we got here.

He is perhaps one of the finest and most underrated documentary filmmakers of our time. Most people, when you ask them about documentaries, will think of Louis Theroux, David Attenborough and Michael Moore. And rightly so, they are some of the best documentary filmmakers out there.

None, however, compare to the way Adam Curtis takes the most complex and global issues – spanning decades – and documents them so accurately, articulately and without a boring moment.

He argues that we live in a fake world. A world of un-reality created by social media where we project an image of what we perceive ourselves to be. Meanwhile, global corporations track what we like and reflect it back to us, trapping us in a virtual bubble. Scarily, and quite rightly, he shows how comfortable we are with this and how all opposition is absorbed. Hence, nothing ever changes.

And that’s just one aspect of the two hour and forty five minute documentary.

The term ‘hypernormalisation’ Curtis says, originated with a writer in the Soviet Union. It referred to how everyone in the Soviet Union could see the economy collapsing around them, but had to pretend everything was OK because they could not imagine an alternative. This is a disturbing concept, but one that can be easily seen in our every day lives.

HyperNormalisation is a must-watch, offering a means of better understanding the current state of the world, how we got here and, possibly, how we can improve it.

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Daniel Broadley

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