I was always a fan of Al Gore, in the way one feels sorry for children who drop their ice-cream just before the first lick. But despite his politics, or career thus far, his performance in this depressingly relevant and powerful documentary is certainly a positive use of celebrity. The third-highest grossing documentary in U.S. Box Office history, it is delivered as a fact-paced drama, rather than dull and emotionless recitation of facts. Based on the global warming lecture notes of Mr. Gore’s educational tour, the film tells a story of sorts with revelations, predictions, and the odd segments of insight into the personal life of Al himself.
While this was perhaps unnecessary, I found it refreshing that such a character would insert such portions into this type of cinema. In saying this however, his motivation was perhaps to more closely identify himself with the cause as a life mission (now his political career has ended). Regardless of his motivations, I am still undecided whether he actually is a dedicated humanitarian, or trying ever-sohard to appear one.
As the title says, the realities of climate change brought about by humanity’s misuse of our environment are both politically and economically inconvenient to our capitalist consumer society. Politicians outright deny or gloss-over certain facts, arguing minutiae with incredibly brainy people, in the form of international organisations, university research departments and individual scientists. It is a very disheartening fact that politics and the demands of consumer society far outweigh any concerns we have about our future.
Despite certain contested facts, which critics from all camps have not ceased to point-out; and whether or not the evidence is completely correct or overblown, it is nevertheless glaringly apparent we are headed for some hard times. This is not portrayed in an overly moralistic or “I told you so” way, rejecting the shock-tactics many torch-bearers for this issue rely on to convey their messages. It does not declare worldwide environmental apocalypse, but still predicts catastrophes across the globe, and great upheaval to human life and our existence thus far.
But every which way you look at it, climate change is happening, it is our fault, and we need to do something about it.
DIRECTED BY DAVIS GUGGENHEIM
Rialto, Paramount cinemas