There’s a new Alfonso Cuaron movie in theaters this weekend — the terribly scripted yet visually tremendous Gravity — and it’s his first feature since the acclaimed 2006 sci-fi drama Children of Men. Between these two narrative works, though, the filmmaker co-directed a short documentary titled The Shock Doctrine. At 6 minutes, it’s a very, very, very brief adaptation of Naomi Klein’s book of the same name (subtitled “The Rise of Disaster Captalism”). Or, maybe it’s technically a trailer for the book, as it coincided with its 2007 release. Plus, a feature-length documentary came two years later via Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross.
But that one was disappointing. This short, on the other hand, is an adequate summation of Klein’s thesis on how the CIA and economist Milton Friedman have employed tactics associated with shock treatment and its effects in the wake of both manmade and natural disasters for the economic benefit of the free-market West. Through archive footage and animation, Jonas Cuaron, who receives primary directorial and editorial credit, working with his father and the author, delivers a perfect illustration of the concept of “economic shock treatment,” or “the shock doctrine.”