Friday 18 August 2017

"An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power" (Guardian 18/08/17)

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power ****
Dirs: Bonni Cohen, Jon Shenk. Documentary with: Al Gore, George W. Bush, John Kerry, Donald Trump. 98 mins. Cert: PG

Ten record-breaking summers on from An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore doubles down. Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk’s galvanising doc accompanies the former VP through 2015-16, by which point he’d pivoted from touring pro-bono slideshows to addressing the Climate Leadership program initiated by the first movie’s success. Cohen and Shenk don’t deviate radically from that film’s formula. Again, excerpts of Gore’s orations – manna for bar-chart aficionados – are bolstered with visits to natural disaster sites (as Irwin Allen foresaw, extreme weather is inherently cinematic), while behind-the-scenes diversions find our host battling to discuss temperature hikes with an election-crazed media and an expert-intolerant public.

Other climates have changed, then, and the sequel benefits dramatically from its expanded sense of the challenges facing Gore – everything from the needs of developing nations to the Bataclan terrorists. (One underdiscussed by-product of climate change: an increasingly hot-headed world.) Candidate Trump looms, dismissing science as a wussy liberal fetish: an updated coda sees Gore abandoning his conciliatory rhetoric to swing for an individual currently undoing much of the hard diplomatic work observed herein. Railing against rising tides, he emerges as a cannier performer and a more compelling subject than he was in 2006; a message that sounded critical then has become no less urgent with time. 

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power opens in selected cinemas from today.

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