Monday, 2 April 2007
AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH
An Inconvenient Truth (2006) dir. Davis Guggenheim
Starring: Al Gore
“An Inconvenient Truth” is a mesmerizing film – not just because of the incendiary information about the impending climate crisis but precisely because of the magnetism of Al Gore. The opening shot of Al Gore is from behind his back, a bright light off in the distance, he’s majestically silhouetted. If you didn’t know the film, it could be Bono running on stage before a concert. But it is Al Gore, the forgotten man and being in a culture that vilifies ‘losers’, Gore’s comeback is remarkable.
After losing the 2000 election partly because of criticisms over his cardboard/robot-like personality, Al Gore has turned himself into a political rockstar even more popular than Bill Clinton. Being up on stage on the Oscars for winning best documentary certainly beats out any State of the Union address any day. In hindsight, if Gore had a choice between being President of the United States during 9/11 and its subsequent aftermath (whether or not that included Iraq), or globetrotting doing PowerPoint presentations, hanging with Leonardo Di Caprio and winning Oscars, Gore likely wouldn’t change a thing.
Narrated by Gore himself, the film gives us the hard information of the impending environment crisis we, as citizen’s of Earth, face. But the key to the film isn’t the fact that we’re ruining in the environment. We’ve known that for a long time. It’s that the crisis is immediate and collapsible within our generation. Gore’s charts and graphs show the stats in the clearest, easy to understand and dramatic way. 15 years ago when the depleting of the ozone layer was the symbol of our bad environmental behaviour, the evidence was hard to see, we had to trust that the atmospheric projections were correct. But a picture tells a thousand words and it’s the before and after shots of the glaciers of the Himalayas and the diminished icecap of the Mt. Kilimanjaro that make the crisis real.
Intercut with the environmental story is a brief history of Gore’s background and his life from a young child through the origins of his environmental lobbying. Growing up on a tobacco farm, his family indirectly contributed to the death of thousands of cigarette smokers, including his sister. It’s tragic listening to Gore tell the story, but it’s also the perfect irony that connects his own life to the message he’s preaching. And it applies to more than just the environment. Gore applies the words of Winston Churchill, originally spoken about the impending World War, effectively to his own message: “The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to a close. In its place, we are entering a period of consequences."
I have to admit, before the film came out, I was skeptical of listening to more environmental talk, especially in the theatres for $12. After all, we all grew up with David Suzuki and it was old news to me. But believe me David Suzuki is no Al Gore. It needs a charismatic orator to bring the hard truth to the people – someone they can trust, that won’t talk down to them, an everyman, a working class man and someone we feel sorry for. In fact, the timing couldn’t be more convenient – George W. Bush’s worst hour is Al Gore’s finest. Oh sweet revenge. Enjoy.
Buy it here (in an environmentally friendly package no less): An Inconvenient Truth