Observational documentarian Barbara Kopple has a long history of making herself seem invisible, but the vérité intimacy and anti-establishment zeal of Oscar-winning classics like “Harlan County, USA,” and “American Dream” suggest that her signature work couldn’t have been made by anyone else; Kopple isn’t absent from these films so much as she’s sublimated into the air they breathe. “Desert One” is different — you couldn’t find Kopple’s fingerprints on this comprehensive but incurious account of the Iran hostage crisis if you watched the movie through a magnifying glass. Valuable for its access yet limited by its lack of perspective, “Desert One” puts a human face on one of the late 20th century’s worst debacles while framing the whole thing in the passive voice, resulting in a film that boasts the immediacy of a testament but the resonance of a textbook. It’s a documentary that was produced by The History Channel, and it feels like one every step of the way.
—David Ehrlich, Indiewire
2.92GB | 1h 48m | 1920×1080 | mkv