Bleeding Piece of Earth

An Inconvenient Truth

Al Gore stars in the documentary directed by Davis Guggenheim.

Reviewed by Gerald Carpenter

This is truly a great film on a worthy subject. It is an eloquent mass-mailing to the citizens of Earth: The system is blinking red. Our so-called civilization has contracted a life-threatening illness known as global warming — brought on by human activity — and all the present signs indicate our condition is critical. In a decade, give or take a year or two, it will become terminal.

This is the knowledge Al Gore has been carrying around since his college days, in the 1960s. As a freshman congressman in the 1970s, he held the first hearings ever on the subject of global warming. After his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988 (remember Michael Dukakis?), he began to work up a touring slide-show presentation about it, but then Bill Clinton took him to the White House in 1992, and he was pretty busy after that.

In 2000, when he was elected president but prevented from serving, Gore went back to his main mission, which was to alert as many of us as possible to the danger we are in — and to point out ways to do something about it. When he made his PowerPoint presentation to a group of Hollywood movers and shakers, one of them — Laurie David — decided that it needed to be put on film, and An Inconvenient Truth is the result.

The film is a brilliant exposition of the major features of the problem. There is an evangelical element to Gore’s presentation, which the autobiographical episodes serve to heighten and underscore (like the Protestant conversion narrative known as a “relation”), but there is nothing preachy about any of it. Seldom, if ever, have graphs and still photos and other bits of scientific data been so moving, so profoundly frightening.

Quentin Tarantino’s partner, Lawrence Bender, played a key role as a producer, and Davis Guggenheim has done a spectacular job of making a motion picture out of it. But it is Al Gore’s passion, his vision, that holds it all together. We are going to owe him a lot, I hope. I sometimes wonder why he bothers.

See An Inconvenient Truth. Now.

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