Janek Ambros’s short film, Unwarranted Influence, illustrates and underlines the importance of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s 1961 warning about the potential abuses of the burgeoning military industrial complex. Utilizing war time footage and audio, the film gives a brief glimpse and history of the industry and economy of war that has grown up in the United States. The film paints a picture of a system that is not about protecting or spreading freedom, but about making money, like any other business.
While the film retains some level of nuance, it still tells one side of a (perhaps deceptively) multifaceted story. If you’re looking for depth and measured debates and solutions, this is not the place to look; at eleven minutes, this is the biased, broad strokes. Enough to make you think a little, but any real study will have to be self-motivated.
Which is not to say that the piece is disposable propaganda by any means, just that it has its point to make and it makes it. It’s not a call to arms piece for a petition or protest, more like an attempt to turn a light on in a dark room. Depending on how dark you’ve allowed the room to get, that brief flicker will be that much more illuminating to you. If nothing else, the imagery and information juxtaposed with President Eisenhower’s warning shows how important and prescient a point he was making.
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