Jarek Kupsc's The Reflecting Pool

Jarek Kupsc's investigative conspiracy drama wants to be this generation's All the President's Men, but instead of focusing on real characters and events, it's based upon a hypothesis that unsoundly links every discrepancy and omission from the official 9/11 report back to the U.S. government. (It's the "controlled demolition" theory, with knee-jerk comparisons to the Reichstag fire.) Kupsc plays a Russian-American journo who is given one last shot to incite controversy before his paper's corporate takeover, leading him on a truth quest with a 9/11 victim's grieving father (co-producer Joseph Culp). Strictly acting as mouthpieces for Kupsc's suppositions, the advocate-and-skeptic team is less Woodward and Bernstein than Mulder and Scully, with 7 World Trade Center standing in as the secret-filled Area 51. (The 9/11 Files: I Want to Believe?) Kupsc's strongest point—that government-sanctioned truths should be fully probed by apolitical committees—is unnecessarily pummeled into us: "It boggles my mind that nobody cares about this stuff," his character says, one of many passive-aggressive taunts disguised as dialogue. Between Culp's melodramatic digressions in mourning, a toss to another 9/11 theorist as the film's only crackpot, and Kupsc's utter lack of visual and storytelling flair, fictionalization proves a feeble approach to convincing the masses.

 
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