For Reel

Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World (2016)
August 21, 2016, 12:40 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Werner Herzog
4 Stars
Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected WorldOn first glance, Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World seems to have arrived a little too late—the considerations of the Internet’s effect on our culture, the theories behind Artificial Intelligence, and the addictions to a cyber-world have all been in the conversation for many years. And yet Werner Herzog’s singular curiosities not only have the potential to propel conversations forward, but serve as a thoughtful reflection of the last two decades of cultural evolution. The film struggles when it imagines the hypothetical apocalyptic event of a solar flare, but when Herzog ponders the new ethics of interconnectivity and its potential on human consciousness, there is joy to be had in his line of questioning (who but Herzog, when confronted by an engineer and an impressive soccer-playing robot, would ask the man if he loves it?) That the film dwells on the question, “Does the internet dream of itself?” suggests Herzog reaching self-parody, but the beauty of his documentaries is not just his singular worldview, but the surprising ways his subjects respond to it—some of the thinkers meet the question with almost childish glee, whereas others seem to want to blow it off entirely. Herzog’s recent retreat into very contemporary issues of morality (the death penalty, texting and driving, the internet) is not a retreat from the wilderness, but a suggestion that technology itself is the new frontier, posing both unimaginable potential and threats to the way that we conceive of ourselves in the world.