Mirror Film Critic
Davis Guggenheim’s An Inconvenient Truth is to Westside liberals what The Passion of the Christ was to the Bible belt. It is a film that has the power to energize the movement as well as lend some validity to what they believe. Unlike The Passion, however, Truth is slathered with undisputed fact. It is a fact no American wants to acknowledge, particularly if it means giving up their Escalade or air conditioning or any other indulgence we’ve come to rely on.
In his first public media outing since losing the election to George Bush (whether or not you believe it was fair), Al Gore brings our attention to what he was to us before he became the wooden micro-manager who couldn’t let go of the vote counts in Florida. Gore went from being “the environment guy” to being the sore loser in about the time it took Katharine Harris to hand the election victory to Bush. It was an unfair characterization of a very smart, very compassion man. But he has come back with a vengeance.
An Inconvenient Truth walks a fine line between being an ego project for Gore and being a vital message every American, hell, every human being, should be required to see. By the end of the film, after the compelling facts are presented and much of Gore’s reinvention has been laid out, there is no denying the power of the message. Gore himself almost shrinks into the background to become a crusader for the planet rather than the Democrats’ Great White Hope.
Directed by Guggenheim, Truth is based on a series of lectures Gore has been giving for many years now. His lecture is interesting on its own. But much of the film takes us into Gore’s private world of pain – how he almost lost his son, how his sister died of lung cancer, and of course, the elephant in the room: losing to Bush. We’re shown a tender side to a man who doesn’t wear his emotions on his sleeve. But it spends more on his commitment to getting this inconvenient truth out. And oddly enough, for the first time, he looks like he could not only win the next election but that he might make a good president after all.
But putting that aside for the moment, the film depicts a planet on the verge of catastrophe. More to the point, it isn’t the planet that is about to suffer – it is the human race. Life is vulnerable anywhere. One need only look at the dinosaur’s collapse to see that it doesn’t take much to wipe out an entire population in a relatively short amount of time. What we are doing to the planet currently is causing global warming. Global warming is going to cause super storms, unlivable heat and God knows what else in the very near future.
These facts are indisputable by every acknowledged scientist there is. Somehow this “inconvenient truth” has been marginalized as a liberal cause when it is not. It has been given the tobacco treatment of being talked about as a “theory” when it is not. Unfortunately, to get this film made, Gore had to rely on Hollywood liberals like Laurie David (Larry’s wife) and Lawrence Bender and who knows who else’s deep pockets. Because of that element alone, many will think twice about seeing the film, let alone taking to heart the film’s message.
An Inconvenient Truth is not a documentary; it is a rallying cry. It is “The British are coming.” It is not “The sky is falling,” even though the sky is literally falling. If the film has a weakness, it is the moment Gore takes aim at the “current administration.” When it comes to environmental issues, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel; what has Bush and co. done but worsen it? But in doing so, it makes a global issue a partisan one, which will ultimately invalidate the message.