STARSUCKERS (12a) **** DIRECTED BY: CHRIS ATKINS
BY TURNS amusing and disturbing, director Chris Atkins's follow-up to his Blair-baiting documentary, Taking Liberties, exposes the insidious relationship between the media, celebrity, politics and the public to show how easy it is to distract us from what's really going on in the world. Providing compelling evidence that shows how the unscrupulous British tabloids are the puppetmasters in this particular theatre of cruelty and contempt, the stunts Atkins perpetrates to prove his points about our frivolous, celeb-slanted culture should confirm your worst fears about the depths to which we've sunk (the secret footage of PR guru Max Clifford talking about some of the venal things he regularly does to protect some of his more deviant A-list clients is especially sickening). The film's crowning achievement, though, is the way it calmly and persuasively pulls the curtain back on Live 8 in 2005, exposing it as a misguided, ego-driven sham that diluted what the G8 protestors were really trying to achieve by keeping the real story off the front pages. It's sobering stuff that refuses to let anyone off the hook.