USA [2004] - 402m
Documentary, Experimental
Directed by
Ken Jacobs
More info on
Star Spangled to Death poster


October 12, 2020


My biggest problem with many lauded experimental films is that concept and ideas tend to trump execution. Star Spangled to Death is a perfect example. Sure it sounds promising to mix political/social critique with archive footage, but when it feels like you're watching a 7-hour long YouTube video it's just not that impressive.

Jacobs offers a pretty crude cut & paste job here. We see a varied range of archive footage (old cartoons, old nudie films, musical performances, blackface performances, interviews with Nixon, ...) intercut with some textual references that function as critical interludes, sometimes supporting the images, often contrasting them.

It's probably nice if you like classic cinema, I guess the footage has some appeal then, otherwise this is just an endless and crude rant about the demise of the USA. The thing is that you could get that just from reading the title, which would've saved you seven hours of this cheap nonsense.