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'Freakonomics': Expect some controversy

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Given how close we are to the media-dubbed "fiscal cliff," it is interesting to take a look at how much economics has to say about our daily lives. "Freakonomics" is based on a book released in 2004 that used economic theories to explain social and cultural trends. The film is presented as a combination of several mini-documentaries - all of which rely on testimony and research to speak about controversial topics like abortion, crime rates, the War on Drugs, and parenting.

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For the most part, the individual segments are well made. They follow lines of thought that are easy to follow and usually provide you with ample evidence to make your own decisions. The only less-than-stellar segment was the one that focused on sumo wrestlers. It was long and convoluted, and the point was lost in the first sitting. For a college city likes Gainesville, the documentary will provide interesting points of comparison between what you've learned in class and what you see presented here.

Everyone looks for something different in a documentary. Some want completely neutral films like "Jesus Camp," which leaves all decisions up to the audience. But "Freakonomics" is about making statements - loudly and unapologetically. Each segment makes a statement, and opinions of the film will likely be dependent on whether or not you agree with what it says.



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