Such are the headlines from this latest cinematic attempt to raise our eco-consciousness, narrated and produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, whose presence is presumably intended to lure in youthful audiences for an altogether earnest if slightly draining barrage of information. The content could hardly be more important, but this increasingly familiar story puts the onus on the filmmakers to present their argument in a fresh and accessible manner.
Their experience limited to a couple of environmentalist shorts, the co-directors slightly struggle with the longer form. While ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ was criticised as an illustrated lecture, Al Gore’s delivery was much more charismatic than Leo’s stiff line readings, and that film’s single voice a much more approachable prospect than the throng of over 50 miscellaneous experts (Stephen Hawking and Mikhail Gorbachev the star names) assembled on this occasion.
In visual terms too, it’s a cut-and-paste affair, moving unimaginatively between talking heads and fairly generic images of landscape or industrialisation, and edited for pace in a manner that frequently feels rushed.
True, the philosophical musing on human self-perception as a species apart is a useful attempt at explaining our arrogant destruction of our environment, yet the film still tiptoes around the key issue that change won’t come unless the US elects a president committed to action. Overall, the subject matter makes ‘The 11th Hour’ significant, not its rather underwhelming execution.