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Superpower but not Super Sean Penn

A film by Sean Penn, Aaron Kaufman

On February 24, 2022, while directors Penn and Kaufman were shooting in Kiev, Putin’s invasion took the world by storm. As explosions rock the city, they inadvertently become first-hand witnesses to this historic struggle between “David and Goliath.”

Our Review: –

Sean Penn continues to operate in alternative mode. After a rather successful last film that rang true, he returns to his intentions as a great man with a great work and plays the Bernard Henri-Lévy, without a white shirt but with more disheveled hair. Artistically speaking, the documentary proves to be uninteresting from its first shots. The image seems to come from a hidden camera all the time, the editing is very sluggish with a particularly disjointed story-telling, without any particular dressing except a borrowing from the worst American series that constantly remind us of the time and the day when things happened, as if to better create a non-existent tension. Sean Penn, at least admits it, knew nothing about Ukraine before embarking on this mission to meet Zelenski, and somehow play the whistleblower. He ventures into the field and meets with Ukrainian authorities, with what purpose? To ask questions that are neither intelligent nor stupid, that allow him to better understand the history of the country and the point of view of the Ukrainians on the conflict that was born at the beginning of the project, and settled at its end. He learns things, and satisfies his curiosity, no doubt about it. But, besides the omission of investigation, analysis and counterpoint – why don’t we hear Russian testimonies -, what do we learn that we don’t already know or that hasn’t already been explained to us from different angles by the continuous news channels on this conflict mediatized as rarely? How much spice does Penn’s story provide? Alas, none. Everything falls flat, the documentary is quickly transformed into Ukraine for Dummies, and on the diplomatic field, Penn may enjoy a certain popularity, but his power of action, if we can speak of action, is reduced to a total void. Superpower, far from being a superhero movie, takes on the air of a TV show, quite uncomfortable compared to the gravity of the situation… The summit meeting between Zelenski and Penn would have been perfectly at home in the series that made Zelenski famous before he became president. The society of the spectacle, still and always …

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