An inconvenient but upbeat truth

An Inconvenient Truth. Running Time: 97 minutes. Rating: PG. Director: Davis Guggenheim, Starring: Al Gore, website.
An Inconvenient Truth
Brace yourself: this may be the scariest movie you see this year. It’s an eco-disaster movie as unsettling as anything you’ve ever seen on the big screen, although the only special effects the doco contains come via an elaborately constructed multimedia display, which presenter Al Gore somewhat humbly refers to as “this slideshow”.

“This slideshow”, combined with Gore’s earnest commentary, comprises a frank and frightening dissertation on the devastating, irrevocable effects of global warming, and points the finger of blame squarely at technology and convenience-obsessed modern humanity. Most terrifying of all, the facts and figures Gore presents put the expiry date for “life as we know it” at some time in the near future.

Gore has presented his slideshow to wide acclaim across the US and Europe, and Guggenheim’s unobtrusive documentation now makes it accessible to a much wider audience. Guggenheim also broadens the film’s scope to examine how aspects of Gore’s own life—his childhood as a farmer’s son; the near-fatal accident that nearly claimed his young son some years ago; his contentious presidential election loss to George W. Bush in 2000—all inform and fuel his anti-global warming crusade.



True, it’s hardly new to point out the ecological dangers of global warming. In fact, Gore presents little in the way of new information, and is a tad vague about some of his sources. On the other hand, other aspects of the presentation, such as “before and after” photos depicting the radical deterioration of glaciers and major bodies of water worldwide, are far more compelling. So is Gore’s linking of recent, atypically severe and frequent natural disasters (Hurricane Katrina et al.) to global warming, and his repeated emphasis of just how badly global warming has progressed.

An inconvenient but upbeat truthGore himself is a surprisingly engaging orator, who injects his lecture with passion and even humour. Take, for example, his self-introduction—“I used to be the next president of the United States." Sure, he probably had scriptwriters help him produce such material, but his comic timing is impeccable, and such touches make the film even more accessible and, ultimately, more compelling.

Despite the bleak prognosis, An Inconvenient Truth is an optimistic film. Gore is no doomsday prophet, he advocates change; text during the closing credit roll suggests simple action individuals can take to decrease their carbon emissions (the major cause of global warming).

An Inconvenient Truth is, in parts, overbearingly emotive—never more so than during said closing credit roll, over which Melissa Etheridge croons sappy new chart “I Need to Wake Up”. Still, it’s unlikely anyone who sees it will walk away unaffected. And if there’s any grain of truth to An Inconvenient Truth, then individual change is the vital first step towards much-needed global change. 

 

 

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