Where In The World Is Osama Bin Laden?

Morgan Spurlock

BY Katarina GligorijevicPublished May 15, 2008

The young documentarian who in 2004 brought us Super Size Me has come out with a new film in a similar vein. Where In The World Is Osama Bin Laden? tackles a slightly more serious (though one might argue no more important) subject than the ’04 indictment of McDonald’s.

This time, Spurlock sets his sights on the "war on terror,” investigating and examining U.S. foreign policy with the same funny, first-person style we’ve come to know and love.

The premise is this: upon the impending arrival of his first child, Suprlock has decided to make the world a safer place by looking for the world’s most wanted man: Osama bin Laden. The plan is simple: travel to the Middle East, investigate bin Laden’s history and background, and track the sucker down!

The film’s first stop is Egypt, where he interviews students, intellectuals and regular guys on the street and tries to understand the extent to which bin Laden’s opposition to the U.S. is shared by the average Middle Easterner. Spurlock then repeats this process in Israel, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Pakistan, hanging out and chatting with locals along the way.

The problem is that the casual, funny, personal style that made Super Size Me so charming doesn’t work as well when it’s applied to much larger international issues. Rather than evaluating or analysing U.S. foreign policy, Middle Eastern relations, the role of oil in the region’s conflicts or any number of other complex but important pieces of the puzzle, Spurlock comes to some simplistic conclusions about how, deep down inside, we’re not so different after all.

The film keeps threatening to tackle some deeper issues but only succeeds in superficially addressing them.

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