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An Inconvenient Truth

Genre: Documentary
Rated: PG
Directed by
Davis Guggenheim
Starring: Al Gore, Planet Earth
Released by: Paramount Classics

In Short: This compelling documentary about our deepening climate crisis is an equally compelling portrait of Al Gore, our most ardent climate crusader.

Nothing but the Truth

It Could Be So Easy, Being Green
By Sylvie Greil

The Former Next President of the United States has shown his traveling global warming show some 1,000 times. Now it’s come to the big screen. And, special request to Michael Moore: pay close attention. This is how documentary filmmaking should be done. Not political, not preachy, but smart and funny, presenting the facts and offering solutions.

“An Inconvenient Truth” stars Al Gore, planet earth and Keynote—in that order. Director Davis Guggenheim’s (producer of HBO’s “Deadwood”) compelling documentary about our deepening climate crisis is an equally compelling portrait of a man on a mission. At the core of the movie is a mesmerizing multimedia medley of statistics, lush and disturbing images, animations, short movies, quotes by Upton Sinclair, Winston Churchill and Mark Twain, and even a Matt Groening cartoon, elegantly put together with the help of the Apple’s latest presentation software.

Long gone is "Ozone Man," the droning, wooden candidate that has been accused of having us "up to our necks in owls and outta work." Gore has developed gravitas. He has tremendous charisma and warmth, as he paints a future of serious climate changes. Without being alarmist, he delivers, matter-of-factly and scientifically sound, a vision of a very near future of melting ice caps, disappearing permafrost and drowning polar bears futilely seeking shelter on flimsy ice crusts.

If these scenarios seem too far from home to be real or relevant, a computer animation of the fate of Manhattan (submerged by rising sea levels along with San Francisco, Beijing, Calcutta, and the Netherlands) may make the threats more tangible. To drive the point home, Gore points out, the site of the World Trade Center Memorial would be underwater.

He weaves in autobiographical information, growing up on a tobacco farm, the death of his sister from lung cancer, the near death of his young son, his loss of the presidency, and while some may think this personal story irrelevant to the big picture, the man has the right to do so. After all it is he, who one presentation at a time, one person at a time, from Stockholm to Beijing, tries to alert people to a frightening situation. He’s a man of privilege. He has the funds and the connections to visit Antarctica or Patagonia and see nature’s dangerous changes firsthand.

He’s also a bit of a lone wolf. It must take an enormous staff to put together his multimedia presentations and to plan and arrange his global travel schedule. Where are these invisible helpers? All we see is his forlorn figure in front of his laptop, one man against the world. It strongly recalls Plato’s allegory of the cave. The enlightened Gore returns to the cave to tell us that the shadows aren’t the real thing, and that he has seen the sun. But we are conditioned not to believe him.

If there’s one problem with the film, it’s that it’s really activist cinema. Gore is preaching to the choir. Will the “so-called doubters” buy a movie ticket? Will the inconvenient images of tornadoes, floods and epidemics rally us into action? Only the future will tell.


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