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An Inconvenient Truth (2006)

DVD Cover (Paramount)
Genres / Traits:
Biography (Non-Fiction), Culture & Society, Documentary, Environmental Science, Social History, Weather
Director:
Davis Guggenheim Davis Guggenheim
Starring:
Al Gore Al Gore
Billy West Billy West
George Bush George Bush
George W. Bush George W. Bush
Ronald Reagan Ronald Reagan

7.4 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by bluemeanie
Added: July 11, 2006
Since Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" raked in over $100 million at the box office, crushing every other record held by a documentary, filmmakers all over the world have been trying their damnedest to capitalize on this success. The only problem - most movie goers don't like sitting two hours in a theatre to watch a documentary. It has to be pretty damned entertaining. "March of the Penguins" was cute enough and Morgan Freeman enough to make quiet a bit of bank, but most other documentaries just see release on the heels of the success of Michael Moore, especially these so-called 'liberal docs', like "Gunnar Palace", "The U.S. Vs. John Lennon", and "Who Killed the Electric Car?" Studios are looking for the next "Fahrenheit 9/11". Alas, they are not going to find it any time soon. It was a fluke. Not to say it was not an amazing documentary and worthy of every penny, but it was a fluke of the genre and nothing more. "An Inconvenient Truth", on the other hand, is a far better documentary in terms of concise subject matter and a precise laying out of the facts and statistics. "An Inconvenient Truth" takes on the subject of global warming by injecting humor, sincerity, and true energy into the topic, thanks entirely to its star, Al Gore.

Introducing himself as the 'former future President of the United States', Al Gore carries every second of this film with his voice, his mannerisms, his humor, and his passion. We could tell if this was a phony up there preaching about global warming. We could tell if the person giving this lecture was just another pompous bureaucrat. Al Gore most certainly is not. He has been giving this same lecture for years and years, and he will continue to give it because he cares deeply about the issue of global warming and is dedicated to changing as many minds as possible. That is passion. The documentary is, essentially, one of Gore's high-end PowerPoint presentations to a group of students, spliced and diced with excerpts from Gore's personal life and scenes from the arctic ice caps and other locations that show the affect of global warming on the Earth. Gore stands before the students, offering charts and graphs and cartoons and statistics, and they are orchestrated in a way that demands attention, likely because Gore gives them the seriousness they deserve. We also gain a deeper understanding in to what makes Gore tick, from his son's brush with death as a child, to his sister's dying of lung cancer, forcing his father to stop farming tobacco. If you thought you really didn't get to know very much about Gore in the 2000 elections, this is your chance to indulge.

This was the type of documentary that could have easily been a monumental failure. Listening to one man talk for ninety minutes is not most people's idea of a good time, and I would likely jump in that same boat. However, Al Gore just has something. He knows how to speak effectively and he knows how to keep an audience both entertained and intrigued. Audiences who see this film will likely visit the website that the film boasts, and might even go so far as to take some of the advice given to them by Gore. I have no idea if this film is going to lead people to take action. "Fahrenheit 9/11", for all its attention and success, didn't change the outcome of the 2004 elections. It didn't really accomplish what it set out to do, and it grossed $100 million dollars. So, how can a film like Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" ever hope to spread enough information about global warming to bring about change? It doesn't. As Gore himself says, if the film can change the mind of ten people, then that is enough and the film is a success. From any other person, a statement like that would seem like rubbish. From Gore, it seems like a testament. I believe him. You will too.

So, if big budget Summer blockbusters aren't measuring up this year and you want to delve into a genre a little more thought provoking and a little more daring, give "An Inconvenient Truth" a try. There aren't any pirates, or superheroes, or talking cares, but there are enough messages and suggestions and statistics and predictions to make your eyes widen and your brain go, "Wait a minute, maybe I should do something here." "An Inconvenient Truth" is the best documentary of the year, thus far, because it doesn't take the liberal stance...it takes the common sense stance. It doesn't beat you over the head with facts and statistics...it presents them to you and lets you make up your own mind. That is the difference between Michael Moore and Al Gore. Michael Moore wants you to riot in the streets. Al Gore wants you to turn off your lights when you leave the house. Those might seem like dangerous extremes, but they are really both wanting the same end...a better world for their children. "An Inconvenient Truth" is certainly not an inconvenience to watch.

9.5/10.
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