Thursday, June 5, 2008

The 11th Hour

It was cool to be nihilistic and destructive as an angry teenage punk-industrial kid. That snotty abrasiveness and urge to 'smash it up' has it's place, I suppose, as a release valve of sorts. But later in life, a little experience and knowledge almost always makes that adolescent angst seem rather directionless and, well, stupid. Punk rock was always about breaking the rules, breaking with the accepted way of things, and dispensing with consumer culture. So why follow and consume blindly? So what does that have to do with this review?

Well, for starters, what could be more 'against the grain' than casting away the corporate monoliths who decimate rainforests and exploit valuable natural resources in the pursuit of dividends and profit margins? It's a death culture, and if this sounds all too 'hippie' and 'tree-hugger', well, so be it. I'd rather lie in the grass and actually hug a tree than embrace a smokestack billowing out toxic smoke. It'd be safe to assume, so would you, too.

Personal soapbox aside, 'The 11th Hour' is a 'green' documentary. Presented (and hosted) by noted conservationist Leonardo DiCaprio, this feature-length film documents and illustrates the condition of our fragile world, and ultimately, what can be done to halt the effects of pollution and environmental catastrophe (aka global warming). It's not likely to affect those who see global warming as a 'great lie' and a 'media hoax'. No, those people are probably unreachable. However, if you are like me, and genuinely concerned that we are pissing in our own water supply (and we literally ARE, and even worse...), then you will appreciate, and maybe even embrace the scholarly and beautiful ideas set forth here.

Discussions with a varied and international cross-section of concerned scientists, scholars, thinkers, and theologians , including Stephen Hawking, Mikhail Gorbachev, Chief Oren Lyons, Nobel peace prize winner Wangari Maathai of Kenya, Rabbi Michael Lerner (and many more) provide a cross-denominational perspective on the poisoning and toxification of our universally-shared Earth. It's a compelling and hopeful call to arms, and a highly worthwhile film to anyone who has an ounce of love for our planet and a flicker of hope for our children's children, who could inherit a burnt-out cinder of wasteland, or a lush, green, and colorful world packed with life and bio-diversity. Featuring some very impressive camerawork, and some amazing natural photography, 'The 11th Hour' could even be seen as a cross between the godlike 'Planet Earth' series, and Al Gore's informative and compelling 'An Inconvenient Truth' film.

The music soundtrack for 'The 11th Hour' is just as impressive, featuring grand sounds from Sigur Ros, Mogwai, The Dirty Three, Cocteau Twins, and more. If that doesn't make this one a 'must-see', I don't know what else you need. Kudos to Leo for putting his energy and influence to work for a greater good.

website + trailer

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