Where I Watched It: HBO MAX
English Audio Description Available?: Yes
This documentary I’m sure many of you had no idea existed until this very moment is currently on Netflix. It has all the power and potential of a Category 5 hurricane. Some films choose rather safe topics, like just recapping the life of someone of historical significance in a unique or interesting way. But Endangered promises to blow open the door on how journalists and freedom of the press are being threatened all over the world.
This isn’t just an American look at what’s wrong with the media, but the promise of a global shift in many countries. It aims, nay, promises that this is not just an American issue. For anyone even remotely interested in honest journalism, and can recognize what has happened to it in the last 30 years, this documentary should be interesting.
Then, the film just goes and picks four candidates. OK. We’re narrowing the stories down, so they can be more impactful. I got it.
Then, you realize that the four journalists represented only come from three countries, because two are in the United States. All of them are from the Americas, with the other two hailing from Mexico and Brazil.
The film does make a brief reference to an organization that seeks to help journalists who are attacked and at risk in reportedly over 100 countries, but this filmmaker couldn’t even get a fourth country involved, or cross an ocean. So what could have been a tremendous film, is lessened out of laziness, certainly something that the journalists featured can’t be accused of.
The lady in Brazil has a notoriety attached to her that would make me afraid for my life, as she is personally attacked by the President of Brazil in his public speeches. The Mexican journalist is also a woman, speaking out for all the murdered women in her country who no longer have a voice. And here in America, we’ve got a guy following Trump around and being harassed, and called fake news, and another guy down in Miami trying to photograph protests only to see his Miami newspaper get sold and his newsroom vanish.
Journalism and journalists are very much under attack globally. But to diminish and reduce the experience to just these four, and then half of those are American, really reduces the global feel of the film, and makes it feel more like a film that just shows you that our country isn’t the only one mistreating their reporters. Other countries do it too. Instead of offering a solution, it wants you to be angry, and this is where it plays it safe, because i already was angry, and any documentary on this topic likely would have landed a blow with me. But, this is not the most effective way to have made this story, and certainly it could have had a larger reach.
Endangered is at times a frustratingly good documentary that you just want more from. With a relatively short 90 minute runtime, the big question here is, why didn’t they offer more? Why did they sell themselves short?
Final Grade: B+