An Inconvenient Truth Movie Review
We are all so going to die. Al Gore says so.
In the deeply scary documentary An Inconvenient Truth, Gore shows more personality - and poses some even more devastating consequences - than he did in his entire election campaign. The issue of global warming is clearly one that is close to Gore's heart, as he took to the road after his failed presidential bid on an international lecture circuit to raise awareness and inspire action on the near-crisis levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and the havoc they are already wreaking on the planet.
Essentially a filming of Gore's polished, straightforward, and compelling lecture, Truth is pretty much the slickest, best-produced classroom filmstrip you'll see at the local indie movie theater. It's at its most effective when director Davis Guggenheim does not try to be something more artsy than an educational tool and simply lets Gore's pictures and staggering number of graphs of the assorted bar, line, and pie varieties do the razzle-dazzle for him.
This is when Gore plainly explains how Earth is now home to levels of carbon dioxide literally unmatched in the last 600,000 years, and how the numbers are only going up. He does a great deal to show the damage this is already doing to the planet, with rapidly rising temperatures, weather disasters, instances of both flood and drought, new communicable diseases, and ecological patterns having detrimental effect to plants, animals, and humans alike.
Interspersed with Gore's lecture, though, are brief segments on Gore-the-man, instead of Gore-the-cause, and the fawning and obsequious tone does nothing to strengthen his point. I do not need to be convinced by contemplative voice over and what looks an awful lot like blatant Apple product placement that Al Gore is just the bestest guy ever in order to be deeply swayed by his message.
Between these indulgent interludes and the sheer volume of the graphs and data presented, it doesn't take long for Truth to feel like it's preaching to the choir. Gore is convincing, sure, and he repeatedly casts global warming not as a partisan issue, nor even as a political one, but as a moral imperative. But between rehashes of the 2000 presidential election quagmire, repeated jabs at the policies of the current administration, and the overt glorification of Gore at his tree-hugging liberal best, Guggenheim does little to reel in the disbelievers. By the time Gore gets to the misconceptions about global warming, including how its reversal can potentially help the global economy and how reports of its questionable veracity have been greatly exaggerated, audiences who may have needed those misconceptions corrected will have long since walked away or tuned out.
But let's face it: There's even less of a market for a red state-friendly environmentalist documentary than there is for... well, an environmentalist documentary, so perhaps Guggenheim should be forgiven for tilting left. What's unfortunate is that it takes so long to get positive - Gore claims that he is not trying to scare us, but I'm not buying it, what with the profoundly disturbing truth of his statistics and images. He certainly scared the crap out of me.
But what he doesn't do is offer me anything that can be done about it. The only politicking Gore does is when asked what we should do about it, and he gives a great call to action, but he doesn't give an answer. There is some hope offered in the form of existing technology that can reduce our carbon output, but frankly, this is a guy who was VP of the United States, and he wasn't able to effect change. Now he's telling me to fix it by... recycling?
Yeah, we're all gonna ie.