‘Totally Under Control’ review: New Alex Gibney documentary offers an incisive and infuriating critique of the Trump administration’s inept coronavirus response.

And now, he brings us “Totally Under Control,” an incisive, lucid and infuriating critique of the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic that Gibney co-directed with Ophelia Harutyunyan and Suzanne Hillinger. In the old days of film stock and editing room, we’d say that this timely narrative has arrived “dripping wet.” Indeed, this is such an up-to-the-minute account that the filmmakers were able to add a dismally ironic postscript that, just a day after completing the movie, President Trump himself would be diagnosed with covid-19.

Obeying the meticulous, metronomic rhythms of a classic procedural, “Totally Under Control” takes viewers back to what seems like another age, when a mysterious flu in Wuhan, China, was ravaging that community. Starting with the first known case in Washington state, the pandemic arrives on U.S. shores, and the misjudgments, missed opportunities and scrambled responses begin. Tests are hurriedly prepared but prove faulty, and an easy fix is inexplicably overlooked; the federal government pits states against each other in an obscene bidding war for badly-needed supplies; American citizens are given confusing and contradictory messages about the severity of the disease and the most appropriate ways to fight it; tough lessons learned by the previous administration, which battled its own outbreaks, are abandoned in favor of an ad hoc, often incoherent, reinvention of myriad wheels.

Meanwhile, the fatalities pile up. In addition to creating a concise, tonally understated compendium of damning facts and figures, “Totally Under Control” provides a useful comparison with South Korea, which the filmmakers present in side-by-side scenes: In the United States, people come to blows over whether to wear masks while in Seoul, a rapid-response testing and tracing program keeps outbreaks to a minimum and a complete economic shutdown at bay.

To anyone who has followed the news of the pandemic, “Totally Under Control” doesn’t break much news — although one of its most piquant moments features a grandson of Robert F. Kennedy providing a firsthand description of the shambolic, all-volunteer supply-chain effort overseen by Jared Kushner to procure personal protection equipment. Rick Bright, who recently resigned his post as director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, is particularly convincing as the kind of apolitical technocrat that the Trump administration seems singularly threatened by. Taison Bell, a physician at the University of Virginia, delivers moving testimony, not just regarding the devastating effects of covid-19, but its disproportionate effect on communities of color.

Gibney and his team were intent on releasing “Totally Under Control” before the election, although it’s difficult to discern whether it will tip any scales (although it will be hard for Forever Trumpers to ignore mask manufacturer Michael Bowen, whose pleas to the president for whom he voted to ramp up production go unheeded). Matters of objective science and empirical observation have now become so mired in partisanship, authoritarian narrative and conspiracy blather that even a film this judicious and straightforwardly informative feels doomed to reach no further than its own self-selected constituency. Should open-minded viewers decide

Read more

Alex Garza For State House

Alex Garza, a Taylor resident is running for State House District 12.

Age: 26
Party affiliation: Democratic Party
Family:Wife – Amira Garza
Occupation:State Representative (2019 – present)
Previous elected experience:Taylor City Council Chairman (2013 – 2019)
Family members in government:Yes, one of my sisters work in politics.
Campaign website: https://www.alexformichigan.com

The single most pressing issue facing our state is _______, and this is what I intend to do about it.
Health care and Prescription Drug Costs. I am a co-sponsor of legislation that would cap prescription drug costs in Michigan. We must continue to fight against high drug costs and limit the strain it puts on our citizens. In order to cover Michiganders to the fullest extent possible, we must prioritize our community health for this to become a reality. Everyone should have access to affordable health care in our state.

What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post?
I am the only candidate in this race that has put together an actual campaign. Unfortunately my Republican opponent has not given the voters an opportunity to know where she stands on issues or even to know that she is an actual candidate in the 12th District. I could not speak on our differences because I do not know what she stands for. I will say however, the difference is that I respect the voters’ right to be informed about who is running to represent them in the legislature. I am proud of the positive campaign my team and I have run to inform the voters of my district.

What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle this job?
I have passed 5 bi-partisan bills during my first term as a State Representative. Making me a leader working on both sides of the aisle in the Michigan House of Representatives. This proves that I am an effective legislator that will deliver results. I will work with anyone, Republican or Democrat, that want to help me improve the lives of those I represent in Taylor, Romulus, and Van Buren Twp.

What steps should state government take to bolster economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic for local businesses?
During this period of COVID-19, the issues of our District have never been more apparent. Our immediate need is to continue to slow the spread of the Coronavirus and ensure our communities have the resources they need to respond to this pandemic. I am proud to have supported legislation that helped our small businesses access grants to help in their recovery. As I seek to return to Lansing, I will continue to be a strong advocate for supporting out local businesses rebuilding from this pandemic.

How will you address the calls for racial justice and police reform?
We are at a boiling point in this country. We have seen so many racial injustices happen before our very eyes across this nation. Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, the

Read more