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Hot Docs 2018 Review: “Active Measures” (2018) ★★★★★


© Shooting Films

There was an obvious fear we could sense coming from Russia when they, and in fact nobody, knew who was to become the next President of the United States. Russians could hope though as long as it is not Hillary Clinton they might be on the safe side. The sanctions have already hit the Russian oligarchs and Putin’s inner circle, and nobody in Kremlin wanted to get more.  This is why I like to think that the act of Active measures have really taken place to install Putin’s own person as the next president of the United States – Donald J. Trump. Otherwise, how else to explain people’s decision to vote for someone whose major goal is to undermine the democracy of his own country?

Active Measures written and directed by Jack Bryan, a native New Yorker, follows the chain of events starting all the way from the day when Vladimir Putin was born, growing from nobody to the head of FSB and later to become the president of Russian Federation. As the film explains an impressive path of Putin’s objectives and how he ended up where he is right now, it draws the perfect picture as to why no one but Donald Trump could have been Putin’s main choice to lead the United States in a way arranged and dictated by Kremlin. Whether it was the best espionage mission ever executed or not, Bryan brings up the solid facts through the videos or actions of Donald Trump, his interviews and the path that leads to his close ties with Russia, his past and friendship with Russians, archival footages to present the picture you will be scared to look at, but will find impossible not to do so.

The opening scene explains what does active measures means, which is a Soviet term for the actions of political warfare conducted by the Soviet and Russian security services (Cheka, OGPU, NKVD, KGB, FSB) to influence the course of world events, in addition to collecting intelligence and producing politically correct assessment of it. As the film analyzes the concept of active measure, providing an in-depth look into how that operation could and perhaps did impact the United States’ pre-election or post-election times, it’s the image of Donald Trump that comes to the center of this story that frankly did make absolute sense.

As the film unfolds, it’s shocking and quite fascinating to see how the filmmaker took aim not only at presenting the facts the way they are, but getting them right. Jack Bryan knew how to use every information he had and place them in a chronological order to have it presented in the best possible way. A thoughtful approach, excellent editing, and of course exceptional direction from the young filmmaker, exclusive interviews with Sen. John McKane and Hillary Clinton helps the film to continue its journey throughout to have the viewer have enough information to play with in any way they want. And an incredible soundtrack that will appear as a mirror reflection of what happened with the United States through the prism of Active Measures.

In conclusion, Active Measures is probably one of the most fascinating and important documentaries that cannot be missed whether you’re a Trump supporter or not. It also can be served as a clear evidence that everything you have seen in the film is perfectly aligned with the political charade happening now where presumably Donald Trump became a catalyst of North and South Korea to finally make a peace that can bring him the Noble Peace Prize, one that his predecessor has, Barack Obama.

This is why it makes more sense to conclude the review or rather an analysis of Bryan’s film with the quote of the 32nd president of the United States Franklin D. Roosevelt which perfectly shapes Bryan’s film as a missing chapter of this story ending with the North Korea/Putin/Trump Saga: “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.” And if you read carefully what Mr. President said once and what is happening now, there will be no need to say another word.

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