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Documentary Review: Kony 2012 Critical Essay

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Updated: Jul 15th, 2019

The film Kony 2012 dwells upon the struggle of young people against a man who committed horrible crimes in Uganda. This is also a story about the power of technology and communication that can help people unite and solve really difficult issues.

Jason Russell tells a story about their struggle against Kony, a leader of rebels who kill, rape, torture, kidnap and turn children into their sex slaves or soldiers (Kony 2012, 2012). The target audience of the film is the cohort of young people who want to make a difference.

Of course, the film may appeal to a wide audience of people who care. The documentary’s goal is to make people aware of the horrors that are still taking place in Uganda, the work completed by the organization called TRI and to make people join the community of those who are trying to make this world better for generations to come.

It is necessary to note that Jason Russell starts his story with the impact of technology. Then he tells the viewer about Jacob who is one of many thousands of children deprived of normal childhood. Russell then proceeds with his struggle and the way he inspired young Americans to participate and make the USA help Uganda in the fight against the criminal and his troops.

Russell also shows that the organization he started has provided help by building schools and radio networks to alarm people about coming rebels. The film’s ending is very appealing as the narrator states that each person can help and participate in the movement by making certain steps.

Notably, the characters of the documentary are very different and this creates a very appealing atmosphere. Thus, Russell explains to his adorable son that Kony is the bad guy and the small boy knows that the bad man should be stopped. After that, officials are shown and they are discussing many things.

Once again, Jacob is telling his stories, which are very appealing. During the documentary, groups of activists are shown as well. Each character plays certain role and it is clear that everyone matters. However, it seems that documentary lacks for information about Jacob and especially his present life.

It would be beneficial if the film showed Jacob and his achievements. The viewer would actually see the power of the organization that changes people’s lives for better. The filmmakers provide a mix of interviews, narration, b-rolls and archival footage to tell the story. This mix has a great informative effect and appeals to people.

The narrator provides support to his words by inserting interviews and some b-rolls (such as crowds of young people with banners). The major message is the fight against the wrongs of the society and assistance to those in need. As has been mentioned above, the documentary would benefit from the use of more interviews (more of Jacob’s stories, opinions of politicians).

It is also necessary to add that the filmmakers make use of close-ups (which is a prevailing shot length). When the filmmakers want to reveal the number of people involved (activists or victims), long shots are used. This creates a very good contrast and reveals the idea that one individual can help thousands and vice versa.

In conclusion, it is necessary to note that the documentary is an inspiring film that can make people more active. The film could be improved through adding more stories of success of Ugandan young people who benefited from the changes implemented.

Nonetheless, it still reaches its aim and informs people as well as inspires them to act and participate. Every person should watch the film to understand that the world can become better if more people become more active and compassionate.

Reference List

. (2012). Web.

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1. IvyPanda. "Documentary Review: Kony 2012." July 15, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/documentary-review-kony-2012/.


IvyPanda. "Documentary Review: Kony 2012." July 15, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/documentary-review-kony-2012/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "Documentary Review: Kony 2012." July 15, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/documentary-review-kony-2012/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Documentary Review: Kony 2012'. 15 July.

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