Documenting the Prestige of the Media (Star Suckers review)

Released in 2009, Star Suckers is Chris Atkins’s attempt to expose the Media for the corrupt powerhouse that he thinks it is. While the content of the documentary is quite disturbing, it is presented in a very entertaining way. Atkins has made the entire film play out like a magic show, with 6 acts presenting the various methods the media use to control the consumer. The metaphor is clear; just as a magic show aims to fool the audience, so too does the media attempt to cover up the scandals and lies with tales of fame and riches.

It could be argued however that Atkins’ entertaining presentation softens the information, making it not as poignant. While the film tries to prove that consumers are obsessed with the fun and glamour of celebrity culture, and prefer entertainment to factual news, the film actually begins to fall into the same trap. By using lots of fun stunts to prove the point, it ultimately begins to play up to the same ideology that it is trying to criticise.

The most successful part of the Documentary sees Atkins tear apart the self-loving Live Aid concert. Less of an attempt to raise awareness of poverty, Atkins argues that Live Aid was simply an excuse to gather the biggest names in the music business for a career boost. As the film points out, while emotional films were shown for the audience, the broadcast of the event interrupted the heart-breaking true films for backstage gossiping with the stars. This final act features much less humour, but is also the most enlightening part of the film.

Overall, I do feel that the documentary was successful in presenting Atkins’ view, though how accurate it was is another issue, and much of the ‘science’ and Social Darwinism behind his explanations does seem a little too convenient to be true.

6 Stars

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