(2007) dir. David Hoffman
This is a pretty disappointing documentary about the effect that the launch of the Russian Sputnik satellite had on America and the world, spurring on both the Space Race and the Arms Race. It’s Cold War material, typically interesting to me, tying in with several other documentaries made about similar times and events. But this one is a mish-mash and a mess. Cutting lots of old footage, but a few modern interviews, and some voice-over clarifications, the film attempts to show the reactions. But really, one has to work to discern the issues.
It’s not that a documentary has to spell out its intent or to push heavily for an interpretation of events, but this film just fails to do much of anything, even to keep it interesting, even though it inherently is.
I wish it had been better, but it does go to show that some material cannot save itself against bad filmmaking.