Documentaries Or Shockumentaries? 5 Of The Best

film reviews | movies | features | BRWC Documentaries Or Shockumentaries? 5 Of The Best

The trend in popular documentary film-making of recent years has been the ‘shock and awe’ approach. These are almost (anti)propaganda films in their use of music, graphics and shocking images and boldly covering a wide range of provocative subjects.

It is now also an acceptable and widely used device to include the film-makers difficulties during production in the film itself. Popularised by Michael Moore & Nick Broomfield this technique even forms the basis of MTV’s ‘Catfish: The TV Show‘.


The Corporation (2003)
-A classic of the genre this film describes the concept of a corporation as a person in a way that all can understand and uses a series of well documented examples, interviews (including Moore & Noam Chomsky), excellent polished production and graphics.

Directed by Mark Achbar & Jennifer Abbott.

Bowling for Columbine

Regarded by many as one Michael Moore’s finest works this film blew the lid off Gun Control in U.S. following the aftermath of the Columbine disaster. This film goes a long way to establishing Moore’s trademark confrontational and populist style.

It also features many clever graphics and a South Park style cartoon sequence.


Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price (2005)

Here we get to see behind the scenes in a shocking exposé of one of America’s largest corporations. We see candid interviews with ex-staff, customers and those affected in the community.  A relatively low-budget effort (estimated $1,500,000) from director Robert Greenwald (Xanadu).


Fed Up (2014)

Fed Up is a timely & shocking look into the obesity crisis in the U.S. and highlight’s how sugar lobbyists have a detrimental effect on governmental food guideline policy and the resulting effect on children’s health . The film has been widely well received and has even led to celebrities such as Kevin Smith cutting added sugar out of their diet.

Produced/Narrated by journalist Katie Couric and directed by Stephanie Soechtig. Also produced by Laurie Lennard (An Inconvenient Truth).


Religulous (2008)

religulous_ver3_xlgWith a lighter and more laid-back style presented by comic/commentator Bill Maher this film avoids shock tactics and instead lets it’s subjects make their own blunders as it points out the inconsistencies in many major religions.

From director Larry Charles (Borat/Bruno/The Dictator).


Please let us know your favourite documentaries/shockumentaries.

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Ben started out as a technology blogger before branching out into writing about Film & TV. An obsessive fan of indie film & dark comedies you will probably find him waxing lyrical about the movies of Kevin Smith, The Coen Brothers, Robert Rodriguez or Quentin Tarantino.



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