The 11th Hour (NR) ** 2 Stars
Global warming has become one of the most popular subjects in recent documentary films, the most notable being "An Inconvenient Truth." Whether you loved or hated Al Gore's Oscar-winning film, you couldn't argue how well it was made, how level-headed its approach and how downright entertaining it turned out to be.
"The 11th Hour" is the Mr. Hyde to "An Inconvenient Truth's" Dr. Jekyll. Written and directed by first-time filmmaking sisters Nadia Conners and Leila Conners Petersen, the movie is custom-made to appeal to the ADD/MTV generation.
In addition to regurgitating about 75 percent of what Gore already said much better in his movie, "The 11th Hour" mixes faux New Age mysticism, hyper-kinetic imagery, apocalyptic scare tactics and a parade of not-very-camera-ready doomsday talking heads.
Let's give the filmmakers the benefit of the doubt for the moment and agree global warming is real and a clear and present danger. Given that, wouldn't it be easier to reach more people - and, more importantly - sway the naysayers over to your camp by means of insightful, methodical, gripping filmmaking?
Slapping together music video montages edited by someone downing way too much caffeine won't do it. Neither will ultra-slick, come-hither narration by the green-embracing Leonardo DiCaprio. And just how, exactly, does killing baby seals have anything to do with global warming?
"The 11th Hour" is a ham-handed piece of blatant propaganda from activists who preach solely to their fervent choir. It is a frantic and completely emotion-driven film. Admittedly, it does benefit in small part by the inclusion of some facts that are impossible to refute and on-screen commentary from people who know what they're talking about. That's not the issue.
This is a documentary, not a soap box. Unlike Mr. Gore's movie - which wisely played it subtle and, as a result, converted many to his point of view, "11th Hour" will change no one's mind. All it will do is widen the ideological chasm.
The believers will feel vindicated, while the doubters will feel insulted and limp away the victims of blunt audio-visual assault. (Warner Independent)
Opens exclusively at Regal Tara Cinema, 2345 Cheshire Bridge Road, Atlanta. Call 404-634-6288 or visit www.regalcinemas.com.