Get local news delivered straight to your phone

We can't make City Paper without you

$
$
$

Your contribution is appreciated.

This is the film Mike Daisey would have made had he known a thing about journalism and not inserted himself into the story. In this harrowing documentary, confessed Nokia addict and Danish filmmaker Frank Poulsen dives head-first into discovering whether his phone contains conflict minerals. While activist work like Kony 2012 and Daisey’s shown-to-be-mendacious Apple monologue offer a ham-handed exchange of facts for spectacle, Poulsen’s film obsessively and deftly seeks an explanation and a solution, rather than the spotlight. In doing so, the director daringly descends into the parallel hells of Congolese casserite mines and corporate communications, navigating around the armed militias guarding mineral riches and stiff-jawed PR professionals guarding Nokia’s polished public image. Each journey has its own excruciating realities, forcing Poulsen—the viewer’s surrogate—to confront the contradictions of his own consumerism and activism as a Westerner. He does so with unblinking honesty, whether it is during an unforgettable, claustrophobic sequence where teenage miners berate him for filming them working underground or when he clutches his phone like a junkie after he learns that the stream of commerce that put it there is more like a trail of bodies.