Raw, jittery doc isn't as compelling as the frightening material it covers.

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Despite a timely, intrigue-filled subject and a level of access that has now become impossible, "Rebellion" lacks the storytelling drive it needs to stand out on the docu circuit. Theatrical prospects are limited, and an unconventional presentation makes for a tough sell on TV.

Initially adopting a variation of the subjective factgathering approach favored by Nick Broomfield, director Andrei Nekrasov admits to viewers that he is dissatisfied with the account he gave to authorities when questioned about the death of his friend, the poisoned Russian FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko. This film, he says, will stand as his personal "testimony" on the matter.

But Nekrasov's personality never emerges the way Broomfield's does, and he's also missing that knack for laying out one discovery after another to create a mystery that draws us in. In Nekrasov's hands, a mountain of damning testimony feels like less than it is; despite his personal investment, it comes across as a pile of data -- thematically related, but not particularly well organized.