City of Ghosts
Inadvertently following the blueprint Whose Streets? takes with the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, City of Ghosts tells the story of how the citizen journalists of Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently are striving to expose the lies of ISIS.
Both causes are noble and in need of being spread to the masses — or at least its art house segment — through the documentary form, though it’s worth noting that the death toll in Syria is significantly higher and the Ferguson Police Department isn’t exactly tracking activists across state or national lines, nor are said activists forced to flee their homes.
Director Matthew Heineman, who brought a similar intimacy and immediacy to his Oscar-nominated Cartel Land, entrenches himself with the embattled journalists, showing the intricate methods they take to stay one step ahead of their terrorist pursuers and share the atrocities with the world.
His own style is itself extremely informative and brings much-needed attention to RBSS’ risky efforts, but the tar-pit dark subject matter, frequent shaky secondary video sources and constant jumping between Syrian, Turkish and German locations makes for occasionally frustrating cinema.
Though holding true to the journalists’ travails is a necessary evil, such accurate chronicling through a singular approach has its limitations.
Grade: B. Rated R. Now playing at Grail Moviehouse
(Photo: IFC Films)