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Movie Review: What Barry Says

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What Barry Says is a neat three-minute animation by Simon Robson (2004, United Kingdom) that I saw this weekend with the Lost Film Festival. It is available online here. The animation is impressively smooth and complicated, appropriating a silk-screen aesthetic in three colors (red, black, and white) to graphically realize narration by Barry McNamara.

His argument is a less nuanced, more polemical version of the one that Eugene Jarecki presents in Why We Fight: the military-industrial complex has taken the U.S. government hostage and is using American foreign policy to ensure a constant state of armed conflict from which corporate America profits (what the film calls “war corporatism”).

What Barry Says is not subtle, but it is surprisingly cogent for such a short film. It’s as if Robson has brought to life the posters you might see wheat pasted all over your city. What Barry Says is a fun, stylish piece of agit-prop. It’s unlikely to convince anyone of its points or sway any fence sitters, but as a digital celebration of “street art” it’s quite good. Certainly it’s worth three minutes.

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