The Reflecting Pool Reviews
written and directed by Jarek Kupsc
starring Jarek Kupsc, Joseph Culp, Lisa Black, Alex Hyde-White
In this film writer-director Jarek Kupsc uses a narrative structure to ruminate over the possibility that 9/11 didn?t necessarily come down as related in the official reports. At its core it is an adventure story, a search for answers, and a seeking of what may be left of the truth as it has been sorted, discarded and otherwise manipulated by the powers that be. It doesn?t necessarily land on any specific position but rather satisfies itself with the chase into strange realms populated by aspects of this case that have remained on the minds of a great number of people since the towers crumbled and the clean up began.
Although there really isn?t a tremendous amount of style at play here the narrative is carried along by the simple fact that there is always something perversely interesting around the corner. This film wants to be serious minded and informatory but it often does so at the expense of the story of which there is little of note. It is mainly the quest for answers with very little character development and only a rudimentary exploration of emotion which proves to be sorely manipulative and cloying. There is a subplot involving a character named Paul Cooper, a key instigator in the pursuance of this story, whose daughter was in one of the planes that crashed. It?s maudlin, there are many shots of a weepy Cooper, and the hopelessness comes through but it often seems as if it is another film.
Alex Prokop (Kupsc) is a controversial author who is sucked into the whole 9/11 conspiracy theory dynamic. Along with Cooper they set out to challenge the official story so that Prokop can deliver an article to his publisher, George McGuire (Black). The quest sees them uncover what the film declares are obscure clues to solving the great mystery. There is something of a Holy Grail approach to 9/11 in this film. It?s treated like a sacred quest filled with holy relics that determine the course of events as they materialize. In this film they discover that the metal from the planes was shipped off to China except for a few scraps; the plane that smashed into the Pentagon vaporized; and all of this purportedly means something of great value to those who hang about hoping to crack open the Roswell of our time. Secrecy, lack of willingness to divulge information, and many incongruities have fueled this cottage industry and have prompted people like Jarek Kupsc to invest so much time into investigating an area of colossal interest to a few true believers and those, per Fox Mulder, who want to believe. Indeed, the film plays occasionally like an episode of the X-Files without of course that show?s visual flair and cerebral intensity.
For the most part this film bashes one over the head with data and more data that means nothing if you don?t have the fever to sort it all out and catalogue it. To the rest of us, it?s just a collection of facts that are difficult to connect and the result is a film best suited to the documentary format. The narrative just gets in the way because it is so poorly developed and the characters don?t much matter in the end. It?s all about attempting to find purely circumstantial evidence to implicate the government in the attacks. Whether or not it was an inside job pales here in comparison with the giddy high associated with the act of accumulating clues to the puzzle. For those who give a toss about this specific ?conspiracy? there really isn?t much here to hold your interest. The facts don?t necessarily make for compelling viewing and at times the narrative is amateurish and the acting perfectly wooden. It?s akin to reading off cue cards as a friend noticed after the film and this takes away from any dramatic thrust the film might otherwise have enjoyed.
As the film is, according to the director/star, comprised of popular, easily obtainable sources, there is probably nothing new here for buffs either. So, the film plainly offers little or no gain to either those who don?t care or those who care a little too much. Still, for the casual observer who might want to know a bit more about the nature of these events, this film does offer at least a starting point for further investigation. The information is presented as coming from reputable sources and as sound and vital to the ongoing, grassroots investigation into the potential coverup.
There are moments for the non-obsessive where information perhaps once heard and long forgotten takes on a certain resonance. Specifically is the way in which tower 7 fell and the possibility that it was deliberate detonated for reasons that remain unknown. That kind of thing is infinitely compelling but again it is precisely the sort of information that is best realized in a documentary film that doesn?t have to bother with a strict narrative structure yet nevertheless must tell a compelling story.
Overall, this film strikes home only to those who shift through the rubble in hopes of finding a clue to lead them headlong into further inquiry. It should be considered as a fine source of information in its own right which has nothing to do with its lack of power as a narrative film. The facts here are straight and they certainly can be construed to lead somewhere but where that is remains undetermined. Perhaps the only ones who might gain something from all this are the relatives of those who died although that is highly debatable. For everyone else it?s just a blame game that will never be solved and will never cause anyone to lose their plush jobs. It?s just a masturbatory exercise to keep certain type occupied. If it wasn?t this is would be JFK, Roswell, Chernobyl, UFO?s, Bigfoot, etc. There?s nothing particularly special about 9/11 only that it?s the freshest in our minds.