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TOP THREE INVESTIGATIVE FILMS FROM 2023

  • January 17, 2024
  • 6 min read
TOP THREE INVESTIGATIVE FILMS FROM 2023

Reality is a dramatised documentary-thriller based upon an actual audio recording that was secretly captured by FBI agents who showed-up to question a 25 year old woman called Reality Winner, just after she’d packed-up her shopping. About to drive off out of a supermarket car park, Winner was interrupted by the two FBI men who leaned into her car window. The first intimidating moment began with their saying,

“Could you step out of the car, please?” All on a sunny afternoon in Augusta, Georgia, on June 23rd 2017. The two agents proceeded to interrogate NSA translator Winner (played by Sydney Sweeney) at her suburban home.The FBI men made small talk with Winner about their pet dogs and cats. All set out in a cleverly premeditated game of verbal entrapment.The dramatised-documentary style is pure thriller fusion. It is made all the more real, because every word uttered was transcribed from the agents actual recordings of the day’s unfolding events.The dramatic tension is nail biting and Incredibly well realised. Sweeney’s performance is spellbinding. Her inner tension is there for all to see. Capitvated? You’ll continue to wonder what will happen next …

Director, Tina Satter, “I was so drawn to the way she’s evading their questions.The thing that I found fascinating was how Reality was coming off, and I thought, ‘This is my kind of thriller, a girl in Jean shorts, going head to head with these dudes’…”

All in the wake of Reality Winner supposedly leaking an FBI report about Russia’s aims to hack the US Voter Registry. This was confidentially flagged-up by The FBI and The CIA to the US Services where Winner worked in situ. This very real possibility was, in fact, already well underway by Russian hackers. The news media ‘leak’ led to Winner’s arrest, trial, and – eventually – a shortened jail sentence of some four years, after being found guilty for mailing American state secrets to an investigative journalist in newsprint media.

The stage version of the film called “This Is Not A Room” was created as a forerunner to the movie by the film’s director Tina Satter. Reality is Satter’s masterful, and critically acclaimed, directorial debut. A political film for our times. Currently overlooked by most non American audiences Reality is a benchmark in modern American movie making

See Reality here via Curzon Home Cinema

Praying for Armageddon is described as,’ A political docu-thriller with chilling ramifications’. This is the crux of the matter. Opening scenes show propaganda-fed cranks being enlisted inside Texan halls. We hear of their aims for a Holy War. Framed as being for, and-on-behalf of, America and Israel. Pitched to all as ‘A 21st Century Biker’s Crusade’. Set-up in anticipation of the second coming of Jesus Christ. 
These gun toting Bikers operate in tandem with billion dollar, donor-funded, Evangelical Christian factions. They insinuate themselves into a wider context through global TV streamed shows. These are broadcast to 195 countries via John Hagee’s ‘Christians United For Israel’. His CUFI was originally set-up in 1975. They have since propagated their message to countless millions. Wikipedia describes the CUFI’s Wiki page as having ‘a promotional tone’ with ‘multiple issues’. These folks certainly  have many ‘issues’. 

This illuminating documentary focuses-in on the fusion of Christian Biker Militias within the wider context of the CUFI’s American Evangelical Community..

Revving-Up To Jerusalem For Jesus

Incredible shots show over 100 American motorbikes being flown to Israel to spread the word of Christ. The bearded Bikers of The Apocalypse are filmed cruising down Israeli motorways to arrive as heroes. All sat astride their 1000cc Chariots of Fire revving-up into Jerusalem for Jesus.


Back in the USA Reporter Lee Fang reports from the inside, investigating the dalliance between Evangelical Christianity and Politics. The Bikers ultimate goal is for Armageddon, which, in their view, will lead to their own salvation through the second coming of Christ. “Hallelujah! Praise The Lord!”Fang embeds himself with an old evangelistic Texan Biker. Grey Beard predicts that, “Jesus will return on a motorbike, carrying a gun”. The Lord Jesus will then lead his clan of Bikers into the next Holy War. This will culminate with the son of God cruising-off into a post apocalyptic sunset with “200 feet high rivers of blood, flowing behind him”, adds Grey Beard.

Putting the Word ‘Mental’ Back Into The Word ‘Fundamentalism’

The reality of this fantasy is terrifying. This lot are far from being a fringe collective. CUFI has harnessed the Evangelical vote via a billion dollar lobby. Hagee’s minions are secure. Footage reveals that they even became ‘consultants’ to Trump’s last administration. The CUFI remains embedded within powerful American institutions. They have Republican representatives in Congress. Fang meets these politicians. We hear their ‘Second Coming of Christ’ spin. We gauge that 200,000 American Troopers have been indoctrinated into this new form of apocalyptic Baptist thinking. A Holy War fuelled American Military is on standby as Washington D.C’s Politicians contemplate America’s next move. Amen

Praying For Armageddon is a well made investigative documentary with up-coming screening information cited here: prayingforarmageddon.com

A TORCH SONG FOR ALL TIME 

Bella Ciao is a life affirming Italian music documentary. The story behind a political song born of hope, inspiring those who would seek to celebrate democracy and justice. This song’s lyrics were written during the 1930’s when the Partisans were fighting Mussolini. Historical evidence, however, traces Bella Ciao’s melodic roots back through several centuries, and variant culture.  

An anti-fascist song Bella Ciao helped to provide inspiration for millions. A song for the oppressed people of the world. Sung in every continent, it cheered those enduring famine, war, and dictatorships. Not least in Italy, Iraq, and Turkey, where the film’s central focus resides. This is a story born of personal struggle against authoritarianism, illustrating the importance of memory via personal testament. A reflective documentary of true quality Bella Ciao is the best music documentary of 2023, to date, while Bella Ciao remains as a song for all time. 

Bella Ciao’s Italian website.

About Author

Henry Scott Irvine

The published author of Procol Harum's hardback Omnibus Press biography, Henry Scott-Irvine's writing began in the script departments of the British film industry. He continued as a Film & TV 'Music & Arts' researcher. He has a long background in published journalism. A radio producer-presenter since 2009 as well as a producer of the award winning documentary film Tales From Tin Pan Alley. He's a successful campaigner for securing listings and preservation for London's music & film heritage sites.

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