Studio: The Orchard
Director: Michael Mazzola
Writer: Michael Mazzola
Producer: Jim Martin, Grant Ibrahim, DGZ60, Steven M. Greer, Chris Crescitelli, Stephen Peek
Stars: Giancarlo Esposito, Steven M. Greer, Richard C. Doty, Daniel P. Sheehan
Steven Greer and other interviewees present theories regarding extraterrestrial visitations and a government conspiracy.
Tighten your tinfoil hats! “Unacknowledged” puts up an appearance of being a technically competent documentary. And it is at least smart enough to keep its craziest claims quiet until after it is standing on relatively reasonable footing for a UFO exposé. But once its pants are fully unzipped, “Unacknowledged” can’t help but excitedly expose itself as a dubious collection of crackpot conspiracy theories backed by highly specious “evidence,” if it can even be called evidence at all.
“Unacknowledged” functions as a platform for Steven M. Greer, a retired physician turned ufologist, to promote The Disclosure Project, a research collective dedicated to revealing purported facts regarding extraterrestrial visitations, supposedly suppressed by shadowy government organizations. As the movie’s main mouthpiece, as well as one of its producers, Greer advances ideas that not only have alien lifeforms visited Earth, but an unidentified illuminati is actively engaged in widespread disinformation, even assassination, to keep the aliens’ existence secret while our planet’s unsuspecting population remains under its boot heel.
Much of the material isn’t new. It looks like only a handful of interviews were conducted specifically for this documentary. Archived interviews from various sources, stock footage of military aircraft in action, and animated maps compose the bulk of visual content when Greer isn’t featured.
“Unacknowledged” has a surface appeal for conspiracy enthusiasts who are overly anxious to say, “See? I told you so, and this proves it!” Yet anyone with five seconds to look beyond the illusion of information can immediately see through the smoke.
Talking heads will ramble about some cover-up while memos appear onscreen as supposed factual support for whatever idea is being proposed. Press the pause button to actually read any memo in question and you’re unlikely to find context explaining the document’s direct relevance, let alone provenance identifying where these papers come from.
In one of the tamer examples, an ominous sentence, “we could blow up a US ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba” fills the screen while someone talks about a possible plan to covertly escalate Bay of Pigs action during JFK’s administration. Never mind that this staged event never took place. “Unacknowledged” doesn’t even show the letterhead. Essentially, these are just empty words that seem somewhat spooky when framed with open speculation, but aren’t evidence of anything at all.
A more hilarious moment comes when Greer shows a redacted piece of paper that is barely legible from being mimeographed countless times. This one says something about Marilyn Monroe’s sexual affairs with the Kennedy brothers making her privy to sensitive intelligence, including knowledge of secret air bases housing “things from outer space.” “Unacknowledged” then has no problem taking a full leap to the conclusion that this memo is “proof” of a Hollywood actress’ assassination because she could potentially expose a UFO cover up.
Even if you take the memo at face value and assume it is authentic, “things from outer space” isn’t even proof of a flying saucer or alien lifeform. I can’t decide which notion is more laughable. That someone would leave a paper trail ordering a high profile personality’s hit, or that Jack Kennedy was chatty about extraterrestrials while bedding Marilyn Monroe.
Word usage is similarly suspect. A segment about a recovered alien corpse catches Greer referring to it as, “an actual body that is most likely not of human origin.” Most likely? If a medical doctor can’t definitively conclude whether a body isn’t human, how am I to invest stock in anything he has to say?
“Unacknowledged” doesn’t even notice how it undermines its own credibility. One voice claims the Roswell aliens were three feet tall while another says four. Steven Greer refers to “what the public wrongly calls Area 51,” even though more than one military veteran interviewed directly refers to it as such. And after showing a series of supermarket tabloid headlines like “Hillary Clinton Adopts Alien” and “Gay Aliens Found in UFO Wreck,” an interviewee goes on to mention how some of these tabloid slugs are “actual stories of actual events.”
Act II opens with narrator Giancarlo Esposito intoning, “can the government keep a secret this big?” over Larry King footage of Monica Lewinsky. The irony is “Unacknowledged” disproves its primary point. The government can’t hide an Oval Office blowjob, yet we are supposed to believe some clandestine entity can get CNN and Fox News to collude together on controlled media disinformation campaigns.
Greer goes on to say there are 3,500 cases of UFOs having left physical traces. Where is this evidence? Excellent question. The film’s apparent position is that the cover-up is so extensive, authorities managed to get to the site in every one of those instances and collect all materials before any civilian or journalist could present it to the public. Again, we are meant to presume that despite decades of global warfare and conflicting ideologies, the one thing all world governments have consistently agreed on is a unilateral conspiracy to keep all info pertaining to extraterrestrial visitation secret.
No matter how much benefit of the doubt you want to afford, “Unacknowledged” is committed to getting more outlandish, even offensive, with its suppositions as the film rolls forward. A segment on false flag operations is introduced over a montage of Osama Bin Laden and a plane hitting the World Trade Center, among other suspiciously repurposed imagery.
“Unacknowledged” already skates on thin ice with claims like that of a blob in the background of a 15th century Virgin Mary painting being a UFO. It becomes past time to tune the film out once its stance ties in with 9/11 “truthers.” When “Unacknowledged” goes on to suggest that the greatest threat we face today isn’t ISIS or China, but a covert “Deep Black” conspiracy setting us up for intergalactic warfare, it’s time to turn the film off entirely.
Review Score: 40