The 11th Hour
Air Date: Week of August 24, 2007
Tobin Hack, arts critic for Plenty Magazine, reviews the new film The 11th Hour. It’s Leonardo DiCaprio’s call to action on the environment, and it’s way more than a powerpoint for tree huggers.
GELLERMAN: Actor Leonardo DiCaprio has been nominated for three Oscars for his performance in blockbuster films including: Blood Diamond and The Aviator. But perhaps DiCaprio’s most powerful role may be his latest, which involves virtually no acting at all.
DICAPRIO: The evidence is now clear. Industrial civilization has caused irreparable damage. Our political and corporate leaders have consistently ignored the overwhelming scientific evidence.
MAN’S VOICE: Not only is it the 11th Hour It’s 11:59.
GELLERMAN: Leonardo DiCaprio is the narrator of the new film “The 11th Hour”. The documentary ---which he also produced---deals with, what DiCaprio calls, a convergence of environmental crises. The 11th Hour, opens this week in theaters across the county.
Tobin Hack has our review.
HACK: For the first time since Titanic, Leonardo DiCaprio is not the star of his latest film. In fact, he’s rarely on screen in his new environment crisis documentary, the 11th Hour. DiCaprio’s a mouthpiece here, lending his larger-than-life name to a cause he’s clearly passionate about.
The limelight falls instead on a barrage of more than 50 big-name scientists, academics, entrepreneurs, religious leaders, politicians, and more. This strength-in-numbers approach means that no matter what your background or interests, there is something in this film for you.
If business is your thing, or you’re concerned about national security, James Woolsey (Booz Allen VP and former CIA director) talks to you about the implications of dependence on oil. If someone you care about is fighting serious illness, endocrinologist Theo Colborn will tell you about the connections between chemicals we use every day and rising rates of cancers, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s.
In need of numbers and hard evidence? Activist Bill McKibben explains that 20 percent of all arctic ice has melted, and the speed and duration of hurricanes has increased by 50 percent.
In other words, no matter who you are, to ignore the film’s message simply won’t be an option, once you’ve paid your ten bucks and settled into your seat.
DiCaprio could have been a little less academic in his appeals. He’s a little too good, too grammatically correct, too conscious of the fact that he’s narrating a documentary instead of playing a role in a blockbuster. He’s not an investigative reporter, after all, but one of today’s most intelligent, conscientious, and talented actors. He’s in a powerful position to speak to the millions of Americans who don’t compost yet, but who flocked to theaters for Catch Me If You Can - and kudos to him for stepping up to the plate.
The 11th Hour administers a healthy dose of Katrina, and hits all the biggies (global warming, deforestation, overfishing, Big Oil, health issues), but its tone is solution-oriented, and its social commentary fearless. It doesn’t stop at “What’s wrong with the earth?” but asks what’s wrong with us—our relationship with nature and with ourselves. And it pulls no punches. We’re greedy consumers, we’re lost, we’re an infection on the earth, we’re pursuing happiness in all the wrong ways and writing our own death sentence in the process. But for every “down with people” sentiment expressed in the film, a note of hope is offered up as well. As author Paul Hawken reminds us, “The great thing about this age is that we get to re-imagine every single thing that we do.” If this is in fact the 11th hour, then it’s also “a great time to be alive, because this generation gets to completely change this world.”
GELLERMAN: The film is The 11th Hour. Our Reviewer Tobin Hack is the Arts Critic for Plenty magazine and a former producer here at Living on Earth.
[MUSIC: Christian Scott “Litany Of Fear” (Concord 2007)]
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