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David Icke:
Live At The Oxford Union Debating Society

director: Miki Zoric

112 minutes (E) 2008
widescreen ratio 16:9
Fabulous DVD Region 0 retail

RATING: 6/10
reviewed by Ben J. Lamb
David Icke has had a very long and varied career. First appearing on the scene as goalkeeper for Coventry City he gradually moved on to being a successful sports journalist. But in a dramatically surreal turn he shocked the world over when he became the founder of New Age conspiracism. When he first started expressing his views in 1990 people simply thought he was having an extreme mid-life crisis. But now aged 56 he is selling out venues the world over. Currently at the height of his success this DVD is one of his infamous presentations at the Oxford Union debating society.

In a brief seven-minute 'intro' featurette, he gives us some background to the union and university itself. He explains how Oxford is run by "an Aluminati operative network of interbreeding families that manipulate our world in most extraordinary detail," who target and identify "students who can be developed and programmed to run the system on their behalf." He then closes by proclaiming this is probably the first time in its entire history that the Oxford union will discuss "how the few control the world, and to what end" and he is probably right.

Then we come to the main feature itself. As Icke begins his lecture he explains how he is not trying to sell or convert us to his belief system. His intentions are to explain to us how there is another way of looking at this thing called life and world events. According to Icke, the world seems so complex and bewildering because of our lack of information in the mainstream media. Through his lecture he hopes to join the dots and enlighten us. The fact he claims he is not trying to convert or manipulate us into thinking like him is certainly admirable. Although this is a bit contradictory as although he simply wants to present the information before us, he cannot escape the fact he is lecturing and at times bordering on preaching.

After explaining his intentions the lecture then moves on to a short sharp shock into reality where Icke explains how we are not all as free as we think. Here he puts forward the basics of his argument. He explains how a greater network controls Blair, Brown and Bush. Apparently we actually live under a dictatorship where the media or as he calls it 'the movie' is there to give us the impression of freedom of choice. We are slowly being manipulated into a "herd of unthinking sheep fed the movie" as he puts it. But it is when Icke juxtaposes horrific images of dying Iraqi children with scenes from Jerry Springer that his argument comes alive. He points out that the Americans see wars of freedom as a game show and the media is more inclined to spark more moral debates about sporting events rather than the suffering their own government has caused. This is extremely hard hitting indeed.

After grabbing our attention Icke then gets into the substance of his lecture. He goes through a number of 'coordinates' to explain how our government is actually run. Basically their goal is a centrally controlled globally fascist dictatorship. The structure of our country's power is a pyramid where our world leaders are instructed by an elite force. Events since World War One up until 9/11 have all been intrinsically planned to manipulate the world into a state of fear and follow whatever their government deems fit. For example, the entire pre-planned purpose of World War Two was to create the global institution the League of Nations.

This is certainly an intriguing way of looking at things but it is when Icke moves on to the American government and his 9/11 conspiracy theories that our attention severely drops. Talking about weapons of mass destruction and Iraq as well as Bin Laden's CIA training are just topics we have all heard about before. At this bleak point it is difficult to stay focused. 9/11 conspiracy theories have been done to death, analysed in greater detail and better presented particularly by one skilled documentary filmmaker Michael Moore. Icke dwells on this subject for far too long and does not bring any fresh ideas to its overexposure. Icke is somewhat lucky that Michael Moore, conspiracies and alternative thinking are more popular now than they have ever been before. Not as many people would listen to him if they were not so sick and tired of the government themselves.

But this section picks up when Icke goes into detail about his predictions of the dystopian government we are moving towards. Some of his predictions involve electronic chips being installed at birth which is certainly a visionary idea that perhaps rings true given Labour's identity cards plans. Icke is also very observational and some aspects of our society do seem to be leaning towards a 'big brother' state. His comparison between political correctness and newspeak is particularly chilling.

It is in the closing segment of his presentation where Icke then turns to his more radical beliefs. Here, he questions our perception of reality and explains how everyday life is an illusion. Although this is the most OTT part of his lecture it is nevertheless where he engages most with the audience. When he shows various artwork, patterns and 3D paintings he proves how easy it is for our brains to be confused and manipulated. Apparently we are prisoners of this reality and need to withdraw from it as we are only reaching a fraction of our potential. We must stop being selfish, as unselfishness is the antidote to 'divide and rule'. He closes by telling us "When this rules (he points to his heart) only then shall we be free."

On one hand this DVD reinforces and opens your eyes to not accepting everything you read and see in the media. It is interesting to point out that so many are ruled by so few but I doubt many will believe his theories too literally. At times he dances around specifics when expressing his more radical beliefs. He has innovative points but little innovative proof to back it up. Ultimately some points will definitely resonate in your mind whereas others you will deem as inconceivable nonsense, I think more of the latter were left out the lecture. All in all this was not really a debate per say as the title suggested and a lot of the experience is lost through the recording to DVD. It would have been much better to have actually attended. As a form of entertainment it is very dense as there is not much a director can really do to enhance the experience through the medium of DVD.

But to give him credit his views are well structured and effectively broken down to understand in simple terms. As a host he remains focused and keeps the Oxford debating society firmly gripped in the palm of his hand, which isn't bad for a boy who left school at 15 to become a football player. Never does Icke trail off or lose his footing. He has a commanding voice and is driven by his passions. Quoting prominent historical figures such as Einstein and Ghandi demonstrate his extensive intellectual research. He presents his arguments clearly without patronising or manipulating us into believing him. At times we feel he could have got a lot more complicated, but he leaves it at a basic enough level.

This is essential purchasing for conspiracy theory enthusiasts. By the end you will have formed your own conclusions, ideas and opinions but this is the film's greatest asset. As a special feature there is a brief two-minute collection of audience interviews to see what people who attended thought. This is laudable that Icke will allow counter arguments featured on his DVD. On Michael Moore and Al Gore's DVDs we hear no reactions to their opinions. They just want to be seen as great men, whereas Icke seems to have a genuine feeling of trying to just benefit mankind without raising himself on a pedestal. I doubt your thoughts will be as radical as Icke's by the end but at least the film offers some encouragement to think outside the box of everyday life.
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