One can’t wait for the election to end. If the best man wins, it will bring down the curtain on countless hours spent in the service of tRump-bashing docs so that we may once again rejoice in the simpler virtues of narrative storytelling. Having said that, Alex Gibney’s (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Going Clear: Scientology & the Prison of Belief) history of the pandemic’s origins, how coronavirus found its way to our shores, and our government’s ensuing response to the crisis are comprehensively assembled in a chilling, difficult to dismiss timeline. What happens when politics get in the way of science, when the leader of the free world willfully disregards the advice of experts (not to mention the health and safety of millions of Americans), in favor of listening to his tainted gut? In Seoul, to help prevent the spread of disease, politicians left the response to the scientists. There was no need for a national shutdown and the loss of lives capped at 500. Limiting the spread would have been so simple had 45 had encouraged the Center for Disease Control mandated the use of face masks. Trump’s plan to combat the novel virus is simple: he doesn’t have one, the obviousness of which is clearly spelled out in every frame of Gibney’s civics lesson in civility. Hard though it must have been to resist blowing a gasket, the director’s focus on the sycophantic circus-folk that advise and consent their leader is presented in the clear headed, to the point style one associates with the director. At no time is there mention of Trump's suggestion that we inject household disinfectants as a path to a cure; in this company the appallingness would feel redundant. (2020) — Scott Marks
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