Reviewed byMort PayneVote: 4/10/10
William Powell wrote the Anarchist Cookbook when he was a teenager. Nowin his sixties, he is a retired school teacher, who has spent most ofhis responsible adult life trying to help teach difficult to reachchildren. In this documentary, he talks about his radical years in thelate 60s and his life subsequent to the book's publication. A simpleman, who apparently struggles with certain implications of the book andsome personalities who have found it inspirational, Mr. Powell seems tohave made a good life for himself apart from his youthful foolishness.Charlie Siskel's documentary about the man would have completely failedwere it not for the subject itself, which saved the film from itsmaker's lack of ethics and film-making talents. The editing wasatrocious, and a good thirty minutes of irrelevant information couldhave been cut from it. Worst of all, Siskel bullies Mr. Powellrepeatedly, pressing again and again to make the man feel guilty abouttragedies such as the OK City bombing and the Columbine shooting. BothMr. Powell and his wife take Siskel to task for his relentlesspassive-aggressive attacks, but he continues through the end of thefilm. While I enjoyed hearing from Powell, I was constantly broughtback to Siskel's agenda to demonize him, which coated the entiredocumentary with a layer of muck and left a bad taste in my mouth.
Reviewed byDurdenistVote: 4/10/10
American Anarchist is exactly the type of "documentary" i hate towatch. Director is totally biased and he spends 80 minutes trying toprove his point. And the point is: William Powell, a 65 year oldteacher who lives in France is responsible for almost every massshooting in the US. Because he wrote a book about how to makeexplosives and how to use guns when he was 19.
It's not an easy movie to watch because it's so one sided andjudgmental. At some point you feel like you're watching someone beingambushed and coerced into saying things he doesn't want to say.
Reviewed byg_morangVote: 3/10/10
All this documentary does is blame this old man over and over again. Iown a copy of the book and like hundreds of thousands of other people,that's where the story ends. Very hard to finish due to the fact thatit focuses on shaming the author for a full hour instead of delvinginto the actual book itself and more about why it was written. Terrible
The story of one of the most infamous books ever written, "The Anarchist Cookbook," and the role it's played in the life of its author, now 65, who wrote it at 19 in the midst of the counterculture upheaval of the late '60s and early '70s.