Reviews of Dark States (2017) and related work

Dark States (2017Moving picture)

Louis Theroux (cast).

Seen in 2018.

Theroux directs his blank stare into the pits of opioid addiction in Huntington (“Heroin Town”), trafficking in Houston (“Trafficking Sex”) and a murder hotspot (“Murder in Milwaukee”). In Milwaukee, he investigates the unexplained death of a young man, father of four by four different mothers.

They’re all pretty terrifying but Milwaukee takes the cake: A perfect confluence of racism, hereditary poverty, bad education, police bias, hatred of the police, easy access to firearms, high testosterone and a toxic culture of masculinity. The latter also appears among the subjects of trafficking, who say they want a strong (violent, intolerant, aggressive, acquisitive) pimp to look out for them.

References here: The Trade (2018).

moving picture non-fiction series

Altered States (2018Moving picture, 3.0 hours)

Louis Theroux (cast).

Seen in 2019.

In “Love Without Limits”, mostly IT workers in Portland apply polyamory. In “Choosing Death”, sick people with painful diseases commit planned and peaceful suicide. In “Take My Baby”, babies are adopted—or not.

Portland has Louis wearing the same shirt throughout the shoot, including at a burlesque costume party and a D&D game, and participating in a sensuous eating event where he’s so shocked he actually proceeds beyond his normally fixed facial expression. He’s paradoxically less shocked by the Final Exit Network in “Choosing Death”, the strongest entry by far.

One FEN representative claims that hardly anybody would want to live with dementia, arguing that dementia is fundamentally different from a disability. That argument is not substantiated, but apart from this one dubious point, the FEN makes a strong showing. Without hiding the complexities of depression, guilt and sorrow, the dying patients also make a strong case for physician-assisted suicide laws like the California End of Life Option Act, despite Theroux’s dithering.

fiction moving picture series spin-off