Watch American Anarchist
- 1 hr 20 min
American Anarchist is a captivating documentary film that explores the life story and the astonishing legacy of William Powell, the author of the infamous Anarchist Cookbook. The movie is directed by Charlie Siskel, who takes on a journey to reveal the backstory of one of the most controversial publications in modern history. The film begins by following William Powell, who is portrayed as a self-proclaimed anarchist and a pacifist. Powell reveals that he wrote the Anarchist Cookbook in the late '60s as a defiant response to the Vietnam War. The book was a collection of recipes for homemade explosives, among other things, designed as a manual for protesting against an unfair system.
The story of the Anarchist Cookbook is fascinating, and the documentary delves into the various controversies surrounding the book's publication. The film interviews several people from different backgrounds, including academics, journalists, and activists, to provide different perspectives on the influence of the cookbook.
The documentary also features interviews with Powell's wife, Ochan Kusuma-Powell, who shares personal insights into her husband's political views and his decision to write the book. Powell's wife provides a unique viewpoint on the controversy surrounding the publication of the book and how it affected their lives.
Furthermore, the direction and cinematography in American Anarchist are masterfully done. The camera follows Powell as he attempts to come to terms with the impact of his book and the choices he made at the time. It is fascinating to watch Powell's journey unfold, and the audience will be encapsulated by his honest revelations about the cookbook and the legacy that he had unleashed on the world.
As the movie progresses, it becomes clear that Powell had no idea how widespread and significant the effects of the Anarchist Cookbook would be. The director uses archival footage to show the book's impact on pop culture, including its use in music lyrics, films, and television shows. The film also highlights how the book has inspired several acts of terrorism, including the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.
However, one of the most interesting aspects of the movie is the director's decision to allow Powell to address the missteps he made during the writing and publication of the Anarchist Cookbook. Powell admits that he did not foresee the violent consequences of the book's teachings and takes full responsibility for his ignorance in the matter.
The final act of American Anarchist is filled with introspection and a sense of closure. Powell's story is one of contradictions, regret, and redemption, highlighted by his decision to stop the book's publication once he had come to terms with its impact.
In conclusion, American Anarchist is an insightful and thought-provoking documentary that examines one of the most controversial books of the modern era. The film mixes archival footage and interviews and is masterfully put together by the director. Powell's story is one of redemption, and the movie is a testament to the human ability to make amends for past mistakes. American Anarchist is a must-watch for anyone interested in modern history, politics, and social justice.
American Anarchist is a 2016 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 20 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.9 and a MetaScore of 58.