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Category: An Inconvenient Truth

An Inconvenient Truth: Film Review

An Inconvenient Truth is a 2006 documentary directed by David Guggenheim and written by former United States’ Vice President Al Gore, with Gore also starring in the film. The film was produced under Lawrence Bender Productions and Participant Productions, and was distributed by Paramount Classics. Operating in the expository mode of documentary, An Inconvenient Truth follows Gore’s campaign to raise awareness on global warming through a complex, comprehensive slideshow. The film is an observational, expository, and reflexive in that it depicts Al Gore narrating and teaching viewers about information observed by the government and world.

The film had several strengths and quite a few weaknesses. The structure was somewhat difficult to follow, jumping from chronological order of the earth’s atmosphere and the climate of the government in regard to environmental issues, to personal accounts of Gore’s life. Although this structure weakened the cohesiveness of the film, the emotion that the “tangent’s” brought were powerful and served to propel the film’s conviction forward. Other strengths of the film included Gore’s charisma and public speaking prowess, the funny animations, and the music. Although many have criticized the use of a feature-length power point, its rigidity slightly compensated the loose structure. The use of found footage was very effective in that it showed the timelessness of the planet’s issues. As opposed to The Story of Stuff — a short documentary on consumerism and the environment — An Inconvenient Truth does not focus on why the environment is the way it is, but rather focuses on the fact that the environment is the way it is and how we as human beings can fix it. It is clear that Gore initially was introduced to environmentalism by Professor Roger Revelle at Harvard University, in that all the sources and people interviewed for the film were highly credible and experts in their given fields.

I felt that An Inconvenient Truth was a great documentary that was engaging and extremely educational. I think it is the perfect first film for beginning environmentalists. The structure was sometimes confusing but always brought power and emotion with it. I was too young to know Gore back was he was running for president or in office, so this film really gave me a chance to get to know him better and come to respect him.

An Inconvient Truth: A Review

An Inconvenient Truth is a hard film to watch.  Many of the facts and evidence brought up by Former Vice President Al Gore in defense of the massive amount of affirming scientific research advocating the impending threat of Global Climate Change are chilling as they are convincing.  In the massive wealth of scientific data Gore brings up, it’s hard to see how Climate Deniers have any real argument outside of pathetic rhetorical hand wringing.  However, Truth is hard to watch for the other reason that it is absurdly boring.  Most of the film is a long dry poorly shot power point presentation with some of the more boring graphics ever designed.  It seemed at times that this would be more fitting to be taking place in a large stale office in some accounting firm in New Jersey rather than a polemic on the dangers of poor treatment of the environment.  Gore also lacks a certain human charisma, maybe because of his years as a politician, maybe because of just being a boring person altogether.  However, the effect is the same.  It’s hard to listen to him drone on in the same pseudo-southern drawl for nearly two hours.  There are small glimpses at a life beyond the headlines with the story of his son nearly dying or how he learned how to love the environment while living on his grandfather’s ranch, but the sincerity of these moments are underpinned by their relative unimportance in the story or message of the film and the lame way in which they are presented, using typical flashback clichés such as distortion, short confusing clips, and worst of all, voice over.  Voice overs only work when the voice actor has a good or interesting inflection, brining character.  When the voice is a slow dry old guy rambling about cows, it really doesn’t serve the same purpose.  Overall, the formal elements of the film rarely, if ever, demonstrate or use cinematic techniques to tell the story. 

     Likewise, the message or diatribe of the film is equally as lackluster.  For the entire film, Gore rambles on about how Global Warming is slowly destroying the Earth.  It’s important to understand the context of when a film was made to better understand it.  in the early 2000’s, many politicians and major media makers weren’t paying attention to the growing threat of Global Climate Change.  Gore, a life long environmental advocate in the Senate and then as Vice President, wanted to increase the knowledge and threat of Climate Change by using his celebrity and political know-how to get the message out.  As a piece of instructional media, the film follows much like an instructional video or college lecture, which is effective at the base level understanding of climate change.  But, and this is a big but, Truth actively works to skirt the causes and creators of climate change by refusing to commit to a clear political political message outside of that Global Warming is bad.  It is true that the polar bears are dying and glaciers are melting, thus raising sea levels, but if you don’t actively describe why or how that is happening, then what does it even matter that all that other stuff is happening.  Also, Truth offers no conciliatory framework how to address and deal with these problems, as is necessary in any political text to ensure that reform is made.  Instead, the audience gets small tips and tricks how to reduce their “footprint” and make themselves feel better as the polluters get to keep polluting and the Earth’s biosphere dive bombs into a lifeless wasteland. 

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