Reviews

Vice Guide to Travel (2006)

The Vice Guide to Travel is so refreshingly good that I feel like I'm catching up with a college ally who has matured past fourth year.

By Matthew Van Allen
Published January 10, 2007

Directed by: Various
Appearances by: David Cross, Spike Jonze and Johnny Knoxville

The Vice Guide to Travel

A couple years back I'd thought that I'd seen the last of Vice; and when I say this I don't mean that Vice had disappeared, I mean that Vice had disappeared. You see, readership went up! Way up!

With the release of the ever popular "Vice's Dos and Don'ts book" and a nationwide concert festival, it had become nearly impossible to get one's hands on the newest issue.

I was but a few mere steps into a store before I was flagged by business owners. They must have pulled the look of bewilderment right off my face because as I stumbled into their shops they'd offer me one of many lame excuses.

"Oh, ah, they won't distribute to stores North of College Street," or "the coke issue was held up at customs," or "the entire box was stolen".

I swear if I wasn't so convinced that someone had pulled a magic trick off right before my eyes I may even have bet that the empty magazine stand was because "You're over 27, you can't have a copy".

Yes, in truth it seemed almost responsible of me to just end the monthly hunt for the newest pages of sin, shock and taboo.

For a magazine that had its humble beginnings in Montreal it seemed that all the discussion had made its way through the underground stench around the provocative red light shadows and injected into the stylish veins ... er, pulse of popular culture worldwide.

Call it what you will but I'm sure that most people have leafed through a copy of Vice magazine have formed something of their own opinion of what Vice is all about - which brings me to the actual movie review (and to what I have to openly admit). Vice will still find a way to force your eyes wide open and more. Vice is far more brilliant in moving image format.

The Vice Guide to Travel is refreshingly good, so good that I can't help but feel like I'm catching up with a college ally who has matured past fourth year.

The movie itself goes way beyond shock value and follows correspondents from Vice magazine as they visit some of the planet's most dangerous destinations. Included are villages of the Congo, the radioactive ruins of Chernobyl and refugee camps of Beirut.

Call it a history lesson, an anarchist's vacation or simply a wake up call. The footage of Chernobyl itself will have you thinking about where the last 20 years have gone.

To see or not too see: Put it this way - if a picture is worth a thousand words, you won't travel to these places. Or on second thoughts, see the movie so that you can say that you did.

Matthew is the RTH film and culture critic. He runs The In Between: Moving Pictures and Culture, which you can find inside Sky Dragon at 27 King William Street.

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