“An Inconvenient Truth” could have been to stick-in-the-mud politicians and greedy energy providers what “Super Size Me” was to the junk food industry, but instead it’s destined to be a two-week curiosity easily carved up by right-wing commentators and spin-doctors.
Al Gore, George W Bush, George Bush
Let’s get one thing straight before we begin: the only thing standing between us and living in harmony with the environment is greed. If we all agreed to abide by the same measures – ala the Kyoto Protocol that only Australia and America vetoed – no one would be disadvantaged. But too many people want to maintain the status quo because the status quo also maintains the obesity of their bank balances.
Former US presidential candidate Al Gore is now touring the world trying to spread the word about climate change, with the above being just one of many points he makes in his seminar. It also includes manifold alarming graphs demonstrating the accelerated heating of the earth, predicting rises in sea levels and forecasting an increase in the sort of weather patterns that created the devastating Hurricane Katrina.
“An Inconvenient Truth” is nominally a documentary about Gore’s crusade to spread his message, but in fact it’s not much more than a couple of cameras positioned around his seminar, punctated by some pensive voice-overs from Gore and a bit of autobiography from the ex-politician. Clearly, it’s just a way to spread his talk to audiences who might not otherwise see it.
Is it fascinating? Of course it is. Imagine a Michael Moore film with the constant editorialising and shameless emotionalism ratcheted down a few notches, and you’ll have “An Inconvenient Truth”. Is it convincing? Not really. Those who walk in with a preconceived idea about global warming will find little to change their minds either way. I went in wanting to be convinced – I’m what you might call a practical conservationist – but Gore’s speech leaves out too many details. (This might be the filmmakers’ fault, but it adds up to the same thing.)
An example is when Gore asserts that global warming is science fact, not a theory, but biased media outlets distort this perception. To do so, he cites a sample of 900+ academic articles out of about 2,000, not one of which expressed any doubt that global warming was a real phenomenon. He then contrasts this with a similar number of articles in the media – nearly half of which portray it as an unproved theory.
Sounds convincing, superficially. But those with an analytical mind will immediately ask, yes, but who chose those 900 articles? Did they have an agenda? What was the content of the other 1,000 studies?
Probably 50 per cent of the points Gore makes throw up such questions and none of them are ever answered. For a documentary devoted to exposing the lies and half-truths of environmental politics, “An Inconvenient Truth” isn’t very transparent.
So what, you say, at least it’s getting the message out there. Maybe, but its selective delivery of ‘the facts’ leaves it wide open to conservative assassination. “An Inconvenient Truth” could have been to stick-in-the-mud politicians and greedy energy providers what “Super Size Me” was to the junk food industry, but instead it’s destined to be a two-week curiosity easily carved up by right-wing commentators and spin-doctors.
The DVD – which, by the way, came to us in just a paper sleeve – assumingly because it’s better for the environment for it not to be in a plastic case? – includes such supplementary materials as an interview with Gore, commentary by the director, and a making-of.
Reviewer : Mark Bennett