Film Review: Active Measures

The last few years has been a tumultuous time for global politics. A shift to the right and a regressive step towards nationalism has seen a number of surprising (and worrying) election results and a polarisation within societies around the world. The victory of President Trump shocked many commentators but there has been talk of Russian collusion from the very beginning of his campaign. A new documentary, Active Measures, takes an in-depth look into these allegations.

Active measures is a collective term for political warfare undertaken by Russia (and formally the Soviet Union) against the West. As opposed to direct action or cyber-attacks, it describes a campaign of subversion through spreading misinformation and using foreign agents to undermine a regime. Jack Bryan’s documentary analyses the facts and follows the money back to Vladimir Putin. He does so by interrogating the evidence using a number of experts and key players; tracing this incursion back to its roots.

The wealth of information, evidence and documentation presented in Active Measures can be bewildering at times. Bryan connects the dots to build a picture of a conspiracy, calling into question the integrity of the American president. He uses a dizzying array of talking heads to tell the story, including Hilary Clinton, John McCain, Mikheil Saakashvili and John Podesta. Whilst the proof provided is overwhelming, Active Measures succeeds and suffers by the sheer weight of its substantiation. An impressive achievement but one which is ultimately unlikely to lead to change.

Active Measures is available on iTunes and On Demand from 1 April.

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