Werner Herzog’s latest documentary demonstrates the master’s ability to both simulate an evenhanded exploration of multiple view points and assert his own, unwavering allegiances with those figures and ideologies he most identifies. Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World gathers experts and statistics on the modern uses of the World Wide Web to show first society’s impressive advancements, and later the baser human instincts that belie that progression. Along the way, Herzog finds friends among robotics students and hermits alike; he empathizes with eccentric scientists and philosophers but isn’t averse to rebuking their findings (sometimes subtly, like the shot that elides the solved half of a fervent mathematician’s chalk board equation). Whatever the opinion, he always gets his subjects thinking about broader meanings and implications. And while flourishes of Herzogian irreverence are in danger of becoming more obligatory than surprising, the sequence of monks on smartphones and an otherwise deserted Chicago skyline set to Elvis Presley’s “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” is a latter day highlight.
Published as part of BAMcinemaFest 2016.