A Deeply Inconvenient Kick Up The Backside

Robbie Collin
News of the World
15 March 2009

150309 News of the WorldVerdict: You’d be stupid to miss it

It’s been suggested that this week’s duff film line-up is some kind of divine punishment. But if so, what’s the motive? Well, The Age of Stupid offers plenty of food for thought.This guilt-u-mentary comes from young British director Franny Armstrong. And even if An Inconvenient Truth left you cold, this frankly terrifying look less than 50 years into the future - all “based on mainstream scientific projections” we’re assured – will come as A Deeply Inconvenient Kick Up The Backside. The film’s set in an Arctic bunker in the year 2055. The rest of the planet has been wrecked by climate change, and you could hardly accuse them of scare-mongering. Ominously, one scene shows bushfires tearing through Sydney Harbour, which pretty much happened a month ago. Earth’s last survivor is a post-apocalyptic Pete Postlethwaite, who spends his time piecing together a warning tape for any other species stupid enough to start destroying their own planet.
The contents of that tape make up the bulk of the movie. And by tying together seven separate short documentaries – which join the dots between a start-up airline in India, the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, anti-wind farm protests in the UK and melting glaciers in the French Alps – the film makes a very credible and pretty damn scary case for us to take climate change very seriously indeed. Best of all, it doesn’t patronise. There are no Michael Moore-style cheap plays for emotion, and no Al Gore finger-wagging dullness. Only once does it stray towards pandering to the sandals and lentils brigade, when we’re introduced to would-be wind-farmer and all-round good organic egg Piers. Piers and wife are at war with local landowners in Bedfordshire over a planning deal for his wind farm. With their sensible knitwear and wholesome lifestyle, they come across as an irksome pair of do-gooders. Until we meet the horse-faced poshos they’re up against, that is – at which point you’ll not only want them to cover their entire estates with windmills, but bulldoze their mansions and set up a fair trade olive oil factory into the bargain. It’s easy to be flippant about climate change but the threats have never before been spelled out as clearly and convincingly as they are here. You won’t see a more important film this year.
United Kingdom