The 11th Hour

"Excellent"

The 11th Hour Review


Since the inevitable comparisons have already been made between last year's Al Gore lecture on climate change, An Inconvenient Truth, and The 11th Hour, Leonardo Dicaprio's dissertation on looming environmental catastrophe, let's go ahead and make one ourselves: The 11th Hour is better. While DiCaprio's film benefits in some ways from following in the wake of Gore's film -- namely, it doesn't feel the need to prove whether or not human behavior, like adding massive amounts of CO2 to the atmosphere, is having an adverse effect on the planet -- it cannot be seen merely as a me-too follow-up. Although starting on a too-obvious note with the familiar style of horrific destruction montage that usually accompanies evening news reports (titled something like, "Is Earth Angry With Us?"), the film quickly regains its footing and delivers its (at times revolutionary) message in a skilled, learned, and accessible manner. To make an obvious point, Al Gore delivered his filmed lecture with the same kind of gentle, careful assurance that characterized his 2000 presidential campaign. By comparison, The 11th Hour, in which DiCaprio takes a conspicuous backseat to all his assembled experts and only pops up occasionally for a few lines of narration to bring us to the next major subject, has little such compunction. This is a film that wraps its message around a hurled brick.

The 11th Hour takes its title from a couple of themes which are woven throughout, both the extremely short duration of humanity's time on the planet when compared to the Earth's total history, and also the extraordinarily short amount of time remaining in which we as a society have to effect change. In one of the film's more pungent lines, we're told that humanity faces a "convergence of crises," many of which have by that point already been enumerated in graphic detail. The omnibus of threats laid out by the cavalcade of researchers and activists (as well as less expected types like ex-CIA director James Woolsey) brought forward by the filmmakers are legion, and whereas most viewers are well aware of them through a variety of different sources, rarely have they been woven together into such an all-encompassing portrait of a species run amok.

Instead of zeroing in on individual threats, whether it's melting ice caps and increasingly violent weather patterns brought on by climate change or the dangers posed by potentially mortally polluted and warmed oceans, the film wraps them all up in a narrative that says, in essence, the way we live now is wrong. So the message is something quite a bit more radical than pushing carbon offsets or hybrid cars, but rather reorienting people's lives. Instead of emphasizing how easy it is for people to green their habits (driving less, better insulating their homes, etc.) the assembled experts form a warning chorus that says humanity must learn to start valuing the earth before we kill it. The point is made quite clearly that the economic system, as currently structured, since it places no value on anything but unending growth, is inherently dangerous to the natural order of things, and will doom us all if not corrected.

The 11th Hour can make that sort of radical statement, being the vanity project of a Hollywood star who can afford to do this sort of thing. But it seems less radical the more its eco-populist message sinks in. Because what rational person, faced with none other than Stephen Hawking postulating that if things continue on their present course, Earth could well end up an arid Venus-like planet with sulfuric acid for rain, would think that anything less than immediate change was needed to avert such a thing?

It's the scariest and most worthwhile Nova episode you'll ever see.

DiCaprio in the dark.



The 11th Hour

Facts and Figures

Run time: 95 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 10th October 2007

Box Office USA: $0.6M

Distributed by: Warner Independent Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 67%
Fresh: 61 Rotten: 30

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Nadia Conners, Leila Conners Petersen

Producer: , , Nadia Conners, Leila Conners Petersen, , Chuck Castleberry

Starring: Kenny Ausubel as Himself, Janine Benyus as Herself, Sylvia Earle as Herself, Gloria Flora as Herself, Michel Gelobter as Himself, as Himself, as Narrator

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

On the Road Movie Review

On the Road Movie Review

Wolf Alice fans are likely to be rather disappointed by this hybrid documentary-drama about the...

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Skilfully made by Swedish filmmaker Janus Metz (the award-winning Armadillo), this film is essentially a...

Advertisement
The Glass Castle Movie Review

The Glass Castle Movie Review

There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir...

Home Again Movie Review

Home Again Movie Review

Reese Witherspoon is so likeable that she can carry even the most hackneyed of romantic...

Brimstone Movie Review

Brimstone Movie Review

An unnerving Western with a sharp female perspective, this film is a series of gruesome...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers...

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

This biopic about Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne may look like the usual lushly...

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.