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iTunes Review: Human Flow

January 23, 2018

By John Corrado

★★½ (out of 4)

Directed by Ai Weiwei, Human Flow is a mix of documentary and art project that offers an on the ground look at the migrant crisis in Europe, filmed over 23 different countries.  The film offers a sprawling look at the hundreds of thousands of people fleeing from war torn countries in the Middle East and Africa, to seek refuge in places like Italy, Germany and Greece.  The film is now available on iTunes, as well as a variety of other VOD platforms.

There is some excellent cinematography here, and the flyover shots of thousands of people who have been forced to leave their homes really drive home the scale of this humanitarian crisis, which is the largest mass migration to Europe since WWII, and is changing the cultural landscape at an unprecedented rate.

The film also touches on how governments are struggling to find adequate placement for these newcomers, with some countries now looking to close their borders in order to stop the flow of people coming over.  While immigration is certainly a timely and contentious topic both here and abroad, Human Flow is ultimately too long and slow moving to have the impact that it sets out to have.  Although it is interesting at times, and there are some stirring images on display, the film would have benefitted from having more of a clear narrative structure, and there is a repetitive nature to many of the sequences.  It’s still mildly worth a rental for curious viewers, but I found my attention waning at times.

The film includes no extras on iTunes.

Human Flow is an Elevation Pictures release.  It’s 140 minutes and rated PG.

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