During the raid of Osama Bin Laden's compound - which concluded in his demise - American military forces attained volumes of private documents that shed light on the terrorist's activities in the years following September 11, 2001. Osama Bin Laden: Up Close and Personal explores the contents of these documents, and offers insights into his twisted psyche and bloodthirsty determination.
Existing in relative undisturbed isolation in Pakistan, Bin Laden never wavered from his primary focus on preserving and advancing his horrific legacy of terror. He kept close watch on the world's media, and directed his lieutenants on how to feed and manipulate the news machine. He penned long, instructive memos to members of his regime, and they were delivered in utter secrecy by carefully selected couriers. He was joined in the iron-clad compound by members of his family, including children and grandchildren who were home-schooled and closely guarded when venturing outdoors.
The film recaps the childhood influences that most profoundly shaped his world view, but the majority of the narrative concerns his mindset during the final five years of his life while hiding in Abbottabad. We learn of his reading habits, his cash flow troubles, his relatively short-sighted understanding of the United States, his responses when members of his family were killed in battle, his efforts to create a self-sustaining compound that would limit his exposure to the outside world, and his ill-fated plans to break from exile prior to his assassination.
According to the security insiders and Islamic State experts who are interviewed in the film, Bin Laden was well aware that America was on the prowl. He heard the U.S. military planes overhead, and knew the area was being exposed to more frequent drone surveillance. Alongside the personal portrait of Bin Laden's final days, the film retraces the U.S. government's plans to end his reign of terror. These two tracks collided with the raid of his home in May of 2011.
In the years following 9/11, Bin Laden became the world's most elusive and enigmatic boogeyman. Now, years after his death, Osama Bin Laden: Up Close and Personal peels back the curtain and delivers a revelatory portrait.