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AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH (director: Davis Guggenheim; cinematographer: Davis Guggenheim; editor: Jay Cassidy/Dan Swietlik; music: Michael Brook; cast: Al Gore; Runtime: 95; MPAA Rating: PG; producers: Laurie David/Lawrence Bender/Scott Z. Burns; Paramount Classics; 2006)
“I doubt if this film can save the planet, but it speaks volumes for Gore’s political future as his public profile is given a much needed makeover.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

There seems to be two purposes to the sobering educational documentary directed by veteran TV man Davis Guggenheim: Firstly to have former Vice President and Presidential candidate Al Gore bring to a wider public the polished slide-show lecture he has delivered since 1989 over a thousand times across the world about the dangers of global warming and secondly to re-introduce Gore as a viable politician who might be planning a comeback, and this vehicle acts as a political commercial showing him to be warm and a real mentsh which are traits his critics said he previously lacked. The lecture part given by Gore convincingly uses state-of-the-art graphics and scientific data to inform a sleeping public that it would be foolish to continue ignoring all the danger signs offering proof as furnished by the entire scientific community that there’s so little time left to avert a planetary disaster, maybe as little as a decade, and that there should be an urgency on the part of world governments to change what we are doing to destroy the atmosphere with our continued use of fossil fuels and failures to have a viable environmental policy. Speaking in a way that a lay person could understand, Gore tells of a growing temperature rise due to high carbon-dioxide levels that affect the entire ecosystem which led to the recent troubling weather related disasters such as Category 4 and 5 hurricanes, out-of-control wildfires, heavier than usual floods and severe droughts. Gore also spoke of the melting of the necessary shelf ice in Greenland and Antarctica, which will soon result in losing parts of our coastline as well as many other areas across the world if something isn’t done. His compelling argument, told in a jovial and optimistic manner but nonetheless expressing a sense of doom, is phrased as a moral dilemma rather than as a political agenda, whereas those who are unwilling to listen might have a death wish for us all; while those who are aware of the very real problems and have properly warned us of the tragedies to come if we don’t listen, must not be ridiculed for presenting such an inconvenient truth.

The lecture is interrupted with personal vignettes from Gore’s life that offers his new brand of self-deprecating humor, as he introduces himself at the opening lecture with “I used to be the next President of the United States.” Other things about his life that he’s willing to share include being influenced to study global warming due to Harvard professor Roger Revelle, how as a young congressman he tried to call attention to the growing threat of global warming but was not listened to, the terrible car accident that nearly took the life of his 6-year-son, the death of his heavy smoking older sister from lung cancer, and his family’s love for the land that included raising cattle and being tobacco farmers (the family tobacco farm ended with the death of his sister and the surgeon general’s report in the 1960s linking cigarettes with cancer).

I found Gore’s sidetrack to tell us about his personal life to be a distraction that takes away a lot from his excellent dramatic lectures, which were never dull and always informative. Which proves to me he’s not a bore as charged by his enemies and some supporters. If he weren’t cheated out of the presidency by the most ignorant, incompetent and arrogant man to ever hold that office, the country would have been in better hands and there would have been no futile Iraqi War, no looming possibility of a trillion dollar debt and possibly a chance to save this planet. I doubt if this film can save the planet, but it speaks volumes for Gore’s political future as his public profile is given a much needed makeover.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”