Hot Docs 2016 Review: Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World
Werner Herzog is no stranger to tackling thought-provoking projects. His latest documentary Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World, which explores the past, present, and future of the Internet, is perhaps his most challenging to date.
The vast diversity of each section ranges from personal stories of online addiction to larger and inventive pursuits such as robotics engineering and even colonization of other planets. Reflecting on just what the Internet is able to provide for greater society, and just as well, the inherent problem with relying on a system that would destroy the world if it disappeared even for a day, allows for Herzog to dig deep into many of the anxieties and concerns that plague us on a day-to-day basis.
It’s amazing to see the 73-year-old take on a wide range of topics surrounding the world wide web, but in a way it’s nothing more than a new terrain for the documentarian to immerse himself with. While he is not present on screen for most of the feature, his familiar omniscient voice carries through from start to finish, and its hard to think of the film being as interesting or compelling without his authorial role.
The overwhelming scope of each installment makes it difficult for Herzog to include his own perspective, which in turn becomes the film’s biggest weakness. Each installment is so ripe with potential for a feature length evaluation, that one craves more content. Overall, Lo and Behold amounts to less than the sum of its parts, but it remains an intriguing expose on the growth of the Internet since it’s invention in the late 1960s. It is sure to be one of the most talked about documentaries this year.