Film Review: This is Not a Movie

Robert Fisk is the embodiment of a certain generation of foreign correspondent. Privately educated, he started out reporting on The Troubles in Northern Ireland before eventually becoming the Middle East Correspondent for the Times in 1987. Always outspoken and fiercely committed, he has lived in Beirut ever since. When one of his stories was pulled, he left in disgust and has been working for The Independent ever since.

This is Not a Movie, the new documentary from Yung Chang, focuses on the resolute and irascible Englishman’s life and career. The camera follows Fisk as he talks through his career, the conflicts he’s covered and the reasons why he’s so willing to put his life on the line. What singles the multi-award-winning journalist out from the crowd is his dogged determination to cover a story and to tell the truth no matter what the cost.

This is Not a Movie works so well due to great editing, intelligent directorial decisions and having a subject who is never short of entertaining. Fisk is a very personable and also combative character, which leads him into trouble; both physical and editorially. He’s not afraid to speak his mind or to take a stance which might not always be popular. This is Not A Movie does a great job of illustrating why Robert Fisk is such a singular individual. What you get from him is the truth, whether you like it or not.

This is Not a Movie is available to Curzon Home Cinema as part of the Canada Now festival from 12 June.

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