Film Review - an inconvenient truth
by Christine Brief
Movie: An Inconvenient Truth
Grade: 4 ½ reels
Cast: Al Gore and the Environment
Director: Davis Guggenheim
Run Time: 100 minutes
Review by Christine Brief 7/24/2006
“An Inconvenient Truth” has stirred the debate about the future of our civilization possible more than any other movie in recent film history. Although man’s impending doom has been played out numerous times before through various natural or manmade disasters, from crashing asteroids to tsunami swells and even nuclear fallout, this one is different.
First off, this is a documentary. What you are watching is not conjured up like a plot in a thriller but a composition of scientific data, observations and calculations that if you are lucky will give you the chills.
Secondly, there is no disconnect between the silver screen and reality, for what you see is what you get as soon as you step outside of the movie theatre: unrelenting, oppressive and dangerous heat. As I am writing this, LA is under a stage 2 energy warning with the thermometer reading triple digits and reaching record highs for weeks in a row.
You are surely aware by now that “An Inconvenient Truth” is about Global Warming; the theory, the debate, the denial and the feared consequences.
Presented by former VP Al Gore in a slide- show style forum, the message is conveyed visually by stunning images of our planet earth in her majestic beauty and the severe transformation she and her inhabitants are enduring. Even if you think you know all there is to know and have heard every argument and prediction, witnessing the future changes through the highly sophisticated computer imaging is not only powerful but breathtaking and a must see. Paired with a great deal of science data, pre-digested into laymen’s terms, Mr. Gore delivers the daunting information with a good portion of dead pan humor as not to let the entertainment value fall by the wayside.
As controversial as the global warming concept is to some portions of the population, the message of the movie is a wake up call for people to recognize the single uniting factor that we are all in this together. Putting aside your differences and working on avoiding a human disaster is a moral responsibility regardless of politics.
And here is where the movie meets its first shortfall: too many can not or will not look past party lines and political convictions. Having a strong focus on the messenger, skeptics get hung up on Al Gore’s persona and dismiss the movie as a platform for a possible presidential campaign launch entirely disregarding the main character, the environment. Director Davis Guggenheim could have minimized this criticism and shifted the focus away from the man but then, he simply gave credit where credit is due. “An Inconvenient Truth” is after all based on Mr. Gore’s symposium he has traveled with and introduced all around the world over the past six years. According to top scientists in the field, Gore’s statements hit nearly 100 percent accuracy, negating the movie as a political tool. His resume shows he is clearly no stranger to the environmental movement from his early college days on and throughout his political career.
What both Al Gore and Davis Guggenheim of course realize is that the “Truth” needs a strong spokes person and having a controversial one is not a bad thing. Any publicity is good publicity and will get people talking.
Unfortunately talk is where it mostly ends and I wish the film would have addressed this predicament. Although it calls for action, it does not single out and really urge the individuals to change their ways. If the projections are as severe as stated, it takes more than altering laws and industry standards. Why not a greater urge with concrete demands from every consumer? Fear to alienate? Recognition that nobody wants to have that finger pointed at them? Or maybe it’s the inherent hope that humankind’s desire to survive will kick in and does what needs to be done? The answer to that remains to be seen and probably cannot be gauged until another decade has passed. For now, raising awareness is still a battle and seems oddly reminiscent of the days when smoking was still only arguably hazardous. As with everything, information is the key and solely on this level, you owe it to yourself to be as informed as you can be. So regardless of your political stripes, go see the movie and find out where you stand!