A documenatry about the world's first coronavirus outbreak outdise of China.
What’s it about:
The documentary is about the ill-fated Diamond Princess cruise liner which became the first place outside of mainland China to have a COVID-19 outbreak. Between January and February 2020 an approximate 712 people on board became infected by the virus. The film directed by Hannah Olson documents the events inside the vessel using a collection of independent footage from the passengers and crew, as well as exclusive interviews recorded at a later point in time.
A documentary produced by HBO usually adheres to a certain standard and this one is no different. It gives an insight into the plight of the passengers and how they had to adapt to living inside the ship under quarantine for weeks. However, the most important aspect this documentary highlighted was how the staff inside the Diamond Princess were ill-treated. It also points out how unprepared the world was to tackle a virus outbreak and how the decision making by governments across the globe was inadequate.
The timing of the release of the documentary is questionable, considering the fact that since the outbreak inside the Diamond Princess, the virus has spread across the globe rapidly claiming the lives of millions and a vast majority of the global population is still under some form of lockdown restrictions. People today know more about the virus and most people have first-hand accounts of how the pandemic has affected the world, more than a year after it began spreading worldwide. It’s also a little condescending to show people complaining about the quality of salad, when countries like India are still reeling from the effects of the virus. It is in no way a criticism aimed at the passengers, who were completely oblivious to what was happening, but rather at the editors for including it in the documentary. If it was released a few years down the line, it may have been better received. The documentary also failed to discuss the severity of the virus within the ship, with only a brief mention of the 14 passengers who lost their lives at the very end.
The documentary, despite being well made, offers nothing new in terms of information or as a story. Whatever is discussed in it has been well documented by the international media for over a year.