-MONTHLY FILM & TV REVIEW-
Live At The Oxford Union Debating Society
director: Miki Zoric
112 minutes (E) 2008
widescreen ratio 16:9
Fabulous DVD Region 0 retail
reviewed by Ben J. Lamb
David Icke has had a very long and varied career. First appearing on the scene as goalkeeper
for Coventry City he gradually moved on to being a successful sports journalist. But in a
dramatically surreal turn he shocked the world over when he became the founder of New Age
conspiracism. When he first started expressing his views in 1990 people simply thought he
was having an extreme mid-life crisis. But now aged 56 he is selling out venues the world
over. Currently at the height of his success this DVD is one of his infamous presentations
at the Oxford Union debating society.
In a brief seven-minute 'intro' featurette, he gives us some background to the union and
university itself. He explains how Oxford is run by "an Aluminati operative network of
interbreeding families that manipulate our world in most extraordinary detail," who target
and identify "students who can be developed and programmed to run the system on their
behalf." He then closes by proclaiming this is probably the first time in its entire history
that the Oxford union will discuss "how the few control the world, and to what end" and
he is probably right.
Then we come to the main feature itself. As Icke begins his lecture he explains how he is not
trying to sell or convert us to his belief system. His intentions are to explain to us how there
is another way of looking at this thing called life and world events. According to Icke, the world
seems so complex and bewildering because of our lack of information in the mainstream media. Through
his lecture he hopes to join the dots and enlighten us. The fact he claims he is not trying to convert
or manipulate us into thinking like him is certainly admirable. Although this is a bit contradictory
as although he simply wants to present the information before us, he cannot escape the fact he is
lecturing and at times bordering on preaching.
After explaining his intentions the lecture then moves on to a short sharp shock into reality
where Icke explains how we are not all as free as we think. Here he puts forward the basics of
his argument. He explains how a greater network controls Blair, Brown and Bush. Apparently we
actually live under a dictatorship where the media or as he calls it 'the movie' is there to
give us the impression of freedom of choice. We are slowly being manipulated into a "herd
of unthinking sheep fed the movie" as he puts it. But it is when Icke juxtaposes horrific
images of dying Iraqi children with scenes from Jerry Springer that his argument comes alive.
He points out that the Americans see wars of freedom as a game show and the media is more inclined
to spark more moral debates about sporting events rather than the suffering their own government
has caused. This is extremely hard hitting indeed.
After grabbing our attention Icke then gets into the substance of his lecture. He goes through
a number of 'coordinates' to explain how our government is actually run. Basically their goal
is a centrally controlled globally fascist dictatorship. The structure of our country's power
is a pyramid where our world leaders are instructed by an elite force. Events since World War
One up until 9/11 have all been intrinsically planned to manipulate the world into a state of
fear and follow whatever their government deems fit. For example, the entire pre-planned purpose
of World War Two was to create the global institution the League of Nations.
This is certainly an intriguing way of looking at things but it is when Icke moves on to the
American government and his 9/11 conspiracy theories that our attention severely drops. Talking
about weapons of mass destruction and Iraq as well as Bin Laden's CIA training are just topics
we have all heard about before. At this bleak point it is difficult to stay focused. 9/11 conspiracy
theories have been done to death, analysed in greater detail and better presented particularly by
one skilled documentary filmmaker Michael Moore. Icke dwells on this subject for far too long and
does not bring any fresh ideas to its overexposure. Icke is somewhat lucky that Michael Moore,
conspiracies and alternative thinking are more popular now than they have ever been before. Not
as many people would listen to him if they were not so sick and tired of the government themselves.
But this section picks up when Icke goes into detail about his predictions of the dystopian
government we are moving towards. Some of his predictions involve electronic chips being installed
at birth which is certainly a visionary idea that perhaps rings true given Labour's identity
cards plans. Icke is also very observational and some aspects of our society do seem to be leaning
towards a 'big brother' state. His comparison between political correctness and newspeak is particularly
It is in the closing segment of his presentation where Icke then turns to his more radical
beliefs. Here, he questions our perception of reality and explains how everyday life is an
illusion. Although this is the most OTT part of his lecture it is nevertheless where he engages
most with the audience. When he shows various artwork, patterns and 3D paintings he proves how
easy it is for our brains to be confused and manipulated. Apparently we are prisoners of this
reality and need to withdraw from it as we are only reaching a fraction of our potential. We
must stop being selfish, as unselfishness is the antidote to 'divide and rule'. He closes by
telling us "When this rules (he points to his heart) only then shall we be free."
On one hand this DVD reinforces and opens your eyes to not accepting everything you read and
see in the media. It is interesting to point out that so many are ruled by so few but I doubt
many will believe his theories too literally. At times he dances around specifics when expressing
his more radical beliefs. He has innovative points but little innovative proof to back it up.
Ultimately some points will definitely resonate in your mind whereas others you will deem as
inconceivable nonsense, I think more of the latter were left out the lecture. All in all this
was not really a debate per say as the title suggested and a lot of the experience is lost through
the recording to DVD. It would have been much better to have actually attended. As a form of
entertainment it is very dense as there is not much a director can really do to enhance the
experience through the medium of DVD.
But to give him credit his views are well structured and effectively broken down to understand
in simple terms. As a host he remains focused and keeps the Oxford debating society firmly gripped
in the palm of his hand, which isn't bad for a boy who left school at 15 to become a football
player. Never does Icke trail off or lose his footing. He has a commanding voice and is driven by
his passions. Quoting prominent historical figures such as Einstein and Ghandi demonstrate his
extensive intellectual research. He presents his arguments clearly without patronising or manipulating
us into believing him. At times we feel he could have got a lot more complicated, but he leaves it
at a basic enough level.
This is essential purchasing for conspiracy theory enthusiasts. By the end you will have
formed your own conclusions, ideas and opinions but this is the film's greatest asset. As
a special feature there is a brief two-minute collection of audience interviews to see what
people who attended thought. This is laudable that Icke will allow counter arguments featured
on his DVD. On Michael Moore and Al Gore's DVDs we hear no reactions to their opinions. They
just want to be seen as great men, whereas Icke seems to have a genuine feeling of trying to
just benefit mankind without raising himself on a pedestal. I doubt your thoughts will be as
radical as Icke's by the end but at least the film offers some encouragement to think outside
the box of everyday life.