From the outset it is clear that director and former Haitian government minister Raoul Peck is not about to hold back on what he sees as a massive failure in the humanitarian effort and the film is unflinchingly damning in its report on a number of high profile aid agencies. Using a mix of real footage, numerous interviews with Haitian government officials, aid agency workers, politicians and a voice over narrative from Peck and a female aid worker, Fatal Assistance asks a number of confronting questions. Just where did the billions of aid money go and why has the rebuilding process been so slow and disjointed?
Visually, Peck’s use of graphics clearly brings home the failure of the recovery effort and alongside endless footage of destroyed buildings and piles of rubble makes his argument quite compelling. Yet I couldn’t help thinking that Peck was perhaps too broad with his criticisms and his argument too one sided, ignoring some of the good work done by some agencies. An engaging film, Fatal Assistance is however an important glimpse into the realities of the world of international aid.