Over recent years, a massive influx of refugees trying to cross the water boundary between Turkey and Greece has caused chaos for the Coast Guard. They pull in hundreds of people per day. But they cannot possibly take everyone.
Life on these waters are depicted as harrowing. People are separated from their families. People slip into the water and drown. And all the while the Coast Guard is doing the best that they can to maintain some semblance of order.
The film’s fly-on-the-wall camera is excruciatingly merciless in its observation. Shots that appear POV depict the boat breaking ties from swimming refugees in order to get to shore. One shot shows the camera huddled within a group of people on the boat, who weep and hold each other. From a distance, we see drowned children and hypothermic bodies.
4.1 Miles is a hard film to watch in this regard. The camera almost feels cruel, but it takes an intriguing intermediary stance between those saved and those doing the saving. The viewer sits in this nebulous region, a gray area. Everything just feels wrong throughout, and the viewer is left questioning how to feel about a situation so marked by chaos and inadequate resources that it seems hopeless.
As always, thanks for reading!
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—Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)