List Film

Freakonomics (3 stars)

‘Blockbuster documentary’ adapting bestselling book on human nature not quite substantial enough


(12) 90min

This ‘blockbuster documentary’, which pools the talents of six well-established doc directors to adapt the bestselling book by Steven D Levitt and Stephen J Dubner that examined various aspects of human nature, doesn’t quite add up to the sum of its not uninteresting parts. Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) directs a typically satirical piece about the consequences of baby naming. Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side) uncovers corruption in the world of sumo wrestling. Eugene Jarecki (brother of Capturing the Friedman’s Andrew, director of Why We Fight) investigates a drop in crime rates in the 1990s. Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing (Jesus Camp) look at a scheme to offer students financial incentives to improve their grades. And Seth Gordon (The King of Kong) contributes the linking sections. It’s all watchable enough (though Jarecki’s section is the most thought-provoking), but it’s just not substantial enough. Would have worked better as a TV series. Extras: filmmaker commentaries, author interviews.


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