topfivefilms.com Tuesday 18th January 2022
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An Inconvenient Truth (U)
Directed by: Davis Guggenheim
Reviewed by: Dave Witt

"I'm Al Gore and I used to be the next president of the United States," is how the speaker introduces himself. When the audience laughs along, he responds with "I don't see what's so funny about that." This more or less sets the tone for the following hour and a half: you might laugh, but there's always something a little more serious to think about just around the corner. An Inconvenient Truth is not so much a film as a video recording of the lecture that Gore has been giving around the world for the past few years. Its subject is something of a personal crusade for the former vice president: global warming and climate change.

At no point does Mr Gore mention ManBearPig by name
At no point does Mr Gore mention ManBearPig by name

It really is a very good presentation. Gore stands in front of a set of large screens, slide clicker in hand, and delivers what's one of the richest and most visually impressive slideshows I've ever seen, regardless of subject matter. The content of Gore's lecture is what will stay with you, however, as he delivers (in a serious yet affable manner) a damning series of slides charting mankind's impact on the environment and ecosystem of the planet, and the inescapable conclusion of where these trends are going to lead. The footage of collapsing ice shelves at the poles alone should cause most audiences to gasp out loud.

Gore as a person was previously something of an unknown, especially internationally, with a vague reputation as a somewhat stuffy bore, readily mocked. Here he comes across as an avuncular, humorous figure, if a little stiff, but he talks a good talk. Some of the interspersed deviations from the lecture during the film explore Gore the man: his upbringing, his college education, his fatherhood, and his ultimate career defeat, all of which would seem to have led him to fighting the global warming cause. These asides could seem a little indulgent or contrived (there are plenty of shots of Gore staring pensively off into the middle distance, clearly formulating great big thoughts), but the overall effect is to help fill in some of the gaps in viewers' minds about the film and its figurehead, the biggest one probably being labelled "why him?". By the end of the film, you should have a pretty good understanding.

The biggest problem that this film will face is more one of target audience. People who are already fervent believers in the problem (indeed, potential disaster) of global warming will find little here to surprise them. Those who are sceptical about the whole thing are unlikely to watch it – it's conceivably a one-sided look at something they consider a scam presented by a liberal ex-vice president with a chip on his shoulder. In this respect, Gore is ironically not the ideal person to be delivering this film to a wider audience, as the issues contained are far bigger than any political personality or agenda. On top of all of that, it's a slideshow, and slideshows can be dull. The subject matter here, as well as the presentation style, ought to engage you for the duration – but I wouldn't have a big meal beforehand, just in case.

Ultimately, this is not so much an entertainment experience as an educational one; perhaps a more apt screening venue than the local multiplex would be a lecture theatre or classroom. Nonetheless, irrespective of medium and location the evidence contained in Gore's presentation should be seen and considered seriously, especially if you consider yourself in any doubt as to the question of our planet's future – which, it turns out, might be a point of some concern for all of us. See this film: you owe it to the Earth.

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Length: 100 minutes
Certificate: U
Official Site: http://www.aninconvenienttruth.co.uk/
IMDB Link: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0497116/
Release Date: 15th September 2006

Top Five Rating: 80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0% (80.0%)
User Rating: 90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0%90.0% (90.0%)

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