An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power – Film Review
Directors: Bonni Cohen, Jon Shenk
Stars: Al Gore, George W. Bush, John Kerry
An Inconvenient Truth was released in 2006 to much acclaim. It was the story of how human made pollution has done untold damage to our environment and that we were running out of time to reverse the effects. Former American vice president Al Gore told the story and it had a massive impact on popular opinion. The film went on to win two Oscars for best documentary and also strangely best original song. It was the film that went on to transform the way we lived our lives, radically reducing our carbon emissions and living in a greener/ cleaner environment. Or maybe I made that last bit up?
In this new film, some 11 years later, an older Al Gore is back to tell the story again, of melting ice caps and catastrophic weather conditions, and sadly how little has changed. We even have a new bad guy in town, someone universally disliked, his name is Donald J Trump! And he denies that carbon emissions even contribute to the problem.
The film itself focuses on Gore and what he has spent his time on for the last ten years. The original film did inspire a number of followers to the cause. Gore has travelled widely giving slide shows to those that would listen and they in turn have spread the word further. The film also focuses on the ice caps, with evidence of the massive changes that have taken place over the last few years. The final segments focus are on the Paris environmental accord, which was recently agreed between a great many countries, but with one significant name removed from the list!
In some sense, this film is about Al Gore himself. It takes a view on his life, looking back at his failed attempt to win the White House and also what became his main fight, that of climate change awareness. The film does give some hope for the future with a section on renewable energy, and that solar and wind energy are no longer as far fetched as they once seemed.
You have to wonder when the film was commissioned. When was it they realised the story would not end with a triumphant tale of the Paris Agreement and instead had America looking like one of the most negligent countries in the world, failing to live up to their responsibilities. There seems to have been a re-draft required for the final sequences, it is now a story of failed leadership and lapsed duty. If the head of the free world is prepared to deny the existence of climate change, then why should the rest of us open our eyes to it? In some ways the need for the film is far greater, due to Trump being in charge. There is a need to mobilise the average citizen and inspire a new generation of young people to fight the cause. The film itself is well made but could never have the impact of the first film. We wonder what could change the minds of those unwilling to see what is clear to the rest of us. In a world of fake news, the truth isn’t just inconvenient, it’s largely ignored.