In this era
of global terrorism and unprecedented government surveillance,
our collective sense of fear and paranoia has rarely been so
certainly the case for the subjects of the fascinating
documentary titled 'Targeted Individuals.'
the always reliable and provocative 'VICE News,' the film
profiles a growing subculture that shares the belief that their
every move is being monitored and manipulated as part of an
ominous global conspiracy.
The film opens at a conference in the U.K. which is attended by
more than 60 of these targeted individuals. Some claim they are
frequently stalked by operatives who stop and feed them messages
on the street.
they have implanted devices in their heads which allow these
forces to read their thoughts and transmit communications via
The Internet has provided a forum where new and established
members of this community can converse about their struggles,
and organize a movement to support one another while raising
Many of them
feel isolated, fearful, and ill-equipped to hold a job or
successfully communicate their plight to others outside of the
The filmmakers do not approach these troubled subjects with
they provide them with an opportunity to express their beliefs
and experiences without the fear of ridicule. Flagrant criticism
would only burrow them further into their shell of isolation.
One of the
most prominent members of the community shows a recent CAT scan
and dental x-ray which both indicate the appearance of a
shows the lead sheet she wears to protect herself from alien
transmissions, and discusses her impulse to move from city to
city to avoid being tracked.
The medical community justifiably believes these individuals
suffer from varying degrees of schizophrenia and other 'mental
has empowered them to seek out the companionship of others who
share in their delusions.
large has a shameful history when it comes to addressing mental
some of the victims who have fallen through the cracks, and
their conditions have only worsened as they've begun to organize
in greater numbers.
'Targeted Individuals' is an intensely empathetic portrait of
mental illness that feels specific to our current culture of