Wednesday, July 12, 2006

If you thought "An Inconvenient Truth" was too upbeat...

July 8, 2006

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a pretty staunch Democrat and am quite liberal on most issues (I waffle on the death penalty). I try not to let my political views affect my views on movies, but even when I do, in the end it comes down to quality.

Last week (or was it the week before?) I went to see the two latest “liberal” documentaries—each of which don’t deal with political issues per se, but nonetheless will likely only be seen by those on the left—perhaps due to an ill-advised advertisement quote attributed to Michael Moore. These two films were “Who Killed the Electric Car?” and Michael Winterbottom’s “The Road to Guantanamo.” These are just brief reactions, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t post anything on them.

When faced with two documentaries, one about the electric car and one about the atrocities and injustices inflicted at Guantanamo Bay by the Bush administration, I never thought that the car one would be the one I’d call an important, must-see film for every American.

“Electric Car” documents the rise and fall of the elusive automobile that used no gas and produced no exhaust, and attempts to pinpoint whose actions exactly led to the care being taken off the market and out of its owners’ hands. A perfect companion piece with Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” the movie is a remarkably entertaining—if a little depressing—depiction of how big business destroyed a pollution-free car. It at times feels a bit lecture-ish, but the quick pace and celebrity interviews (including the original Crazy McCrazerson, Mel Gibson) keep it humming along.

“Guantanamo” is a half-documentary, half-re-enactment—a la “Touching the Void”—a format I’m not particularly fond of. It depicts what happened to three men who were wrongfully imprisoned at Guantanamo and then released two years later with no explanation or apology. It’s jarring and powerful to see how these men were treated, but we’re not given much context, nor does the movie ultimately have much to say.

It’s a shame because this is one of the issues I feel most strongly about, and I longed for a film which gave more insight into the situation. When it comes down to it, the only people I would say need to see this film are those who think they approve of torturing “our enemies” and what goes down at various prison camps (e.g.: my dad).

Speaking of documentaries, I know it’s not political in the least (and I’ve written about it ad nauseasm), but PLEASE go see “Wordplay”! It’s totally and utterly charming, and I guarantee satisfaction. It’s slowly making its way around the country, and is absolutely worth shelling out your $6.50 - $11.25


Post a Comment

<< Home