Ben Affleck is the exec producer of Eric Daniel Metzgar‘s Reporter, a deeply stirring and yet dispiriting doc about Pulitzer Prize-winning N.Y. Times reporter Nicholas Kristof. It was curious, I thought, that interviews with Kristof and Metzgar were offered yesterday but not one with Affleck. He’s the headliner, right? Whatever.
The doc, which I saw late yesterday afternoon, focuses on two very threatening and frustrating situations — the gradual eclipsing of traditional print journalism institutions like the Times, which supports the kind of vital, first-hand political-humanitarian reporting that Kristof has delivering since the early ’90s, and the relentless brutalizing and murdering of innocents in war-torn places like Darfur and Congo.
Solemn and bracing as Reporter is, it brings about a realization, one that sinks in deeper and deeper with accompanying feelings of gloom, that yes, measures can be taken to try and remedy or partially stem these situations, but the basic likelihood is that newspapers will continue to die, Kristof-level reporting about injustices and atrocities will start to become less frequent and gradually perhaps even rare, and poor people will continue to suffer horribly at the hands of tyrants. And you’re sitting there in the audience going “uhhhnn…well, we’re fucked. Me included.”
The world is for the few, and the things that bad people with guns and machetes and other such tools routinely do to people without protection is beyond appalling. Once you open yourself up to it, there’s no end to feeling sickened and disgusted by the inhumanity and the horror out there.
I came out of the film wanting to re-reading Kristof’s Times reporting. I’m also telling HE readers about it by way of a recommendation. I’m very glad I saw Reporter. It’s very well made and sadder than hell.