Unacknowledged is a documentary produced and written primarily by Dr. Steven M. Greer, the founder of The Disclosure Project, an organization whose main goal is to disclose information about UFOs, aliens, and other such matters to the American people. The group claims to have over 500 government, military, and intelligence community informants acting as first-hand witnesses on their behalf. Unacknowledged introduces viewers to The Disclosure Project, their goals, and their evidence, to reveal never before shared info to the public.
First, before I begin this review, I feel that I must address the fact that Unacknowledged, while a documentary, does contain content that is controversial and highly debatable as to its authenticity. This fact is not lost on me, but personally I love content in the realm of conspiracy, especially UFOs and alien life.
However, as a reviewer, I thought it would be a disservice to those that worked on this film to pass it up, even if I didn’t believe 100% of the facts presented in Unacknowledged. I want to make it very clear that despite the matter of Unacknowledged this review will be looking at the broader presentation and aspects of the documentary as a film. You can disagree with its point of view, but you can simultaneously appreciate a good presentation of evidence.
As a viewer of Unacknowledged, I found that for the most part the tie-ins of all three parts of the film were well done. Theses parts are separated into Acts, with the first act being introductory information, the second getting more in-depth with UFO/alien-focused information, and the third an amalgamation of arguments, which make the point that if the government could cover up UFOs it could also cover up other miscarriages of justice.
If you are a newcomer to this brand of questioning the government, Unacknowledged covers most of the basic and broader-accepted theories about the shady dealings of the United States. It is a good introductory film, or a film for the casual Coast to Coast listener who would prefer organized information as opposed to some of the maniacal ramblings that present similar information.
Unacknowledged also does a couple more things right, like picking an objective narrator for the documentary who is not known for any views pertaining to this sort of information. In fact, the narrator for Unacknowledged is none other than Gus from Breaking Bad, Giancarlo Esposito, and he consistently brings an equilibrium to the sometimes serious and somber tone of Unacknowledged.
The film is also shot very well with impressive camera work and interview segments that aren’t constantly cutting away to flashing information that viewers need to see right now. The eyewitness testimony in Unacknowledged is, for the most part, natural and similarly well shot, making it much easier to digest and understand the evidence that is being presented to you.
While Unacknowledged is good when it comes to consistency and presentation, the documentary makes certain mistakes along the way that really do it a disservice. For example, at different points Dr. Greer visually possesses some of the evidence that he discusses, but rather than show it on screen for viewers to see for themselves, he awkwardly waves it around out of focus of the camera.
This not only happens with documents that you can see in the film, but documents and evidence that is consistently cited is never shown. While claiming to possess physical evidence, negative evidence in the film is also grossly represented. When someone presents negative evidence, it means that the evidence for their theory is that there is no evidence, i.e. because something IS NOT there, then that is valid proof.
Unacknowledged also sucks some of the fun out of debating conspiracy theories in that it doesn’t really leave anything to the interpretation of the audience. Of course, Unacknowledged doesn’t stop the viewer from interpreting what is being presented onscreen, but the fact the demonstration itself is so sure that it is right makes it a bit more difficult.
In this way, because Unacknowledged doesn’t leave the viewer to draw their own conclusions, it comes across as having a â€˜my way or the highway sort of attitude. However, the biggest complaint I have with Unacknowledged does not have to do with its presentation or even any of the wilder claims in this film, it’s regarding the choice to include clips of real-life tragedies in the film.
In the beginning of Unacknowledged, we are forced to sit through an intro that is filled with various clips of real-life events that were caught on camera, which play out while the track “What a Wonderful World” by Louie Armstrong chimes away is in the background. At first I got the edgy tone they were going for, as Unacknowledged shows a nuclear explosion, a fire, a riot, etc., but it quickly turns sour from there.
In the first few minutes of this depressing montage a suicide is shown to completion, not edited out or cut away from, but impolitely shown in full. I had seen this footage before (it is of Daniel V. Jones, a former patience worker from a hotel in Californian, who set his car on fire and then shot himself with a shotgun in the middle of a busy Los Angeles Freeway) but it’s harrowing regardless.
From there, and throughout the entire film, we are consistently subjected to clips from numerous ISIS videos, repeated shots of the September 11th attacks, and horrific, extended clips of the suicide of Thich Quang Duc and the drowning of Aylan Kurdi. Thich Quang Duc was a Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist who set himself on fire in protest of the persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government. Aylan Kurdi on the other hand was the three-year-old Syrian boy who drowned and became the face of the refugee crisis in 2015.
The choice to include these clips is abhorrent, tasteless, and makes any valid point that Unacknowledged articulates lose considerable credibility. I was continuously disgusted by the use of these images. They are offensive and add absolutely nothing to the main point of the documentary. The only rationale I can even scrap from the far reaches of my mind that would even remotely justify using these images is that the producers of the documentary wanted to draw a parallel between such repugnant pictures and the misdeeds of the American Government.
However, even if that was the case, the use of same completely misses the mark even if all the allegations in Unacknowledged are 100% true. Hiding the fact that UFOs are signs of alien life is NOT on the same level of seriousness as the death of Aylan Kurdi, Thich Quang Duc, and Daniel V. Jones, and certainly not in the same ballpark as murders committed by ISIS or the 9/11 tragedy.
Overall, Unacknowledged isn’t a bad documentary when you focus on the information contained therein. And, if you can look past the tasteless video clips you will be fine. However, if you are not interested in UFOs or conspiracies you can skip this one. Also be advised of very NSFW content.
Check it out when it releases VOD May 23, but you can check it out now using ON DEMAND.
WICKED RATING 4/10
Director(s): Michael Mazzola
Writer(s): Steven M. Greer, MD, DGZ60, Jim Martin, Stephen Peek, Grant Ibrahim, Chris Crescitelli
Narrator: Giancarlo Esposito
Studio/ Production Co: The Orchard
Release date: 2017
Length: 100 min