A loose, episodic account of the Internet’s incursions into our public and private lives, Werner Herzog’s latest documentary is an exercise in breathlessness. Like much of his recent work, Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World is essentially expository, even if it’s more interested in eccentricity and excitement than information. Indeed, the film begins in the birthplace of the Internet, a drab UCLA computer lab, but quickly departs for stranger shores, exploring subjects ranging from online harassment to artificial intelligence to Internet connectivity on Mars.
Tuesday, April 12, 5:15 pm
Thursday, April 21, 7:20 pm
Director: Werner Herzog
Producers: Werner Herzog, Rupert Maconick
Cinematographer: Peter Zeitlinger
Editor: Marco Capalbo
Music: Mark Degli Anotoni
Mr. Herzog’s talking heads are characteristically colorful. He’s corralled everyone from Internet addicts to neuroscientists to dotcom futurists, and their interviews, wisely focusing more on implications and speculation than explanation, are often enjoyably heady. Indeed, the film’s best moments, like Herzog’s chilling conversations with cybersecurity experts, show just how radical the digital revolution has been, and will continue to be.
I wonder, though, if Lo and Behold might’ve benefitted from beholding a few fewer things. Divided into ten sections, the film is as scattered as its subject, often dedicating a few minutes to subjects and topics that easily warrant entire films. I could’ve listened to legendary hacker Kevin Mitnick talk for much longer, for example, and I could see a younger, less workaday Herzog making a sublime feature-length about the community of people afflicted by sensitivity to cell phone radiation. Still, for fans of the intrepid filmmaker, Lo and Behold will press some familiar buttons: who but Werner Herzog would ask Elon Musk if the Internet dreams of itself?