The Age of Stupid (12A)

Film

Documentaries

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Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Posted: Tue Mar 17 2009

There’s no shortage of films about climate change. The challenge for campaigning environmentalists like Franny Armstrong – whose last film, ‘McLibel’, followed the two British activists who faced McDonald’s in the high court – is to make something that cinemas will play and audiences will want to watch. Happily, this sparky documentary is a good stab at popularising awareness of the impending crisis: you could see it as the more emotional sibling to the more rational brother of Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth’.

Apocalyptic fiction sits alongside modern reportage: Pete Postlethwaite plays the last man on earth in 2055, sitting in front of a computer screen in a watery refuge somewhere north of Norway and using touch-screen technology to call up various global reports from 2009. We flit between six main stories, from Jeh Wadia, a forceful Indian entrepreneur on the verge of opening his country’s third low-cost airline while also harbouring a dream of eradicating domestic poverty, to Fernand Pareau, a French mountain guide living in the Alps who has witnessed the speedy erosion of glaciers while the number of cars racing through the Mont Blanc tunnel past his home continues to rise.

The big theme is action versus conservatism: are Wadia’s twin goals of success and social change reconcilable? Another interviewee with a similar dilemma is Piers Guy, a British wind energy developer who is forever fighting communities who support his technology but still refuse to let turbines near their homes. Armstrong’s prognosis is apocalyptic, but her journalism is solid, instructive and pleasingly thoughtful, largely avoiding a black-and-white and familiar approach to the subject. Entertaining and provocative.
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Release details

Rated:

12A

UK release:

Fri Mar 20, 2009

Duration:

92 mins

Cast and crew

Director:

Franny Armstrong

Narrators:

Pete Postlethwaite

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4.1 / 5

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big g

a must see film for everyone including those so called world leaders who are only concerned about their own needs regardles of the bigger pictue.

big g

a must see film for everyone including those so called world leaders who are only concerned about their own needs regardles of the bigger pictue.

John

This film is very powerful. It is a must see! The message it sends is very clear: the planets resources are being consumed faster than is necessary for the purposes of our own greed and selfishness. The consequences are fatal. The underlying messages are also just as powerful: happiness is not achieved by buying the latest gadget and also putting everyone else’s needs before your desires will inevitably save your own existence – our existence. The deeper message which most ignorant people will refute is that we are fundamentally all the same, and that all we want is to be loved by others without prejudice. In defence of not being loved we respond with selfishness. Therefore, if you put others before you, we may have a chance at saving the planet and consequently our own existence.

John

This film is very powerful. It is a must see! The message it sends is very clear: the planets resources are being consumed faster than is necessary for the purposes of our own greed and selfishness. The consequences are fatal. The underlying messages are also just as powerful: happiness is not achieved by buying the latest gadget and also putting everyone else’s needs before your desires will inevitably save your own existence – our existence. The deeper message which most ignorant people will refute is that we are fundamentally all the same, and that all we want is to be loved by others without prejudice. In defence of not being loved we respond with selfishness. Therefore, if you put others before you, we may have a chance at saving the planet and consequently our own existence.

Vipul

I was sceptical about whether a film could have a positive impact on so many indifferent people out there. Those that find all manner of excuse to avoid taking their share of the responsibility for the staggering damage we inflict on our world – letting the poor and defenceless of the world pay the heaviest price while we revel in our luxurious lifestyles. I was pleasantly surprised at how effective the film is – it points to the simple undeniable truth that we, the developed world and the rich, use more than our fair share of resources and at a rate higher than the Earth can tolerate. Ignore the naysayers – they may be more interested in their throwaway iPods and wasteful lifestyles than facing the truth that every resource they consume means that someone or something out there goes without basic food and water. This film is, to my mind, about waking up and having a conscience – that if we do what is right and moral, we can have a happier, cleaner, more enjoyable and safer world. Moreover, we can achieve this while not spending our lives battling to earn enough money to buy the junk and excesses that marketers falsely tell us we need to make us happy. It all boils down to our needing to be decent and think about the people and life around us instead of being the selfish, amoral and greedy type that created this mess.

Vipul

I was sceptical about whether a film could have a positive impact on so many indifferent people out there. Those that find all manner of excuse to avoid taking their share of the responsibility for the staggering damage we inflict on our world – letting the poor and defenceless of the world pay the heaviest price while we revel in our luxurious lifestyles. I was pleasantly surprised at how effective the film is – it points to the simple undeniable truth that we, the developed world and the rich, use more than our fair share of resources and at a rate higher than the Earth can tolerate. Ignore the naysayers – they may be more interested in their throwaway iPods and wasteful lifestyles than facing the truth that every resource they consume means that someone or something out there goes without basic food and water. This film is, to my mind, about waking up and having a conscience – that if we do what is right and moral, we can have a happier, cleaner, more enjoyable and safer world. Moreover, we can achieve this while not spending our lives battling to earn enough money to buy the junk and excesses that marketers falsely tell us we need to make us happy. It all boils down to our needing to be decent and think about the people and life around us instead of being the selfish, amoral and greedy type that created this mess.

Dave

The documentary aspects of the film were good and relevant, but I feel with the inclusion of the narative it became extremely preachy, and on occasions misdirected in the point that they were trying to put across with more focus on capitalism at time.

Ellie

Quite honestly the BEST film i have ever seen. Certainly not unnecessarily anti - capitalist but it is an inescapable truth that the way of life to date of much of the west (ie. that of a capitalist society) is largely responsible for the mess we are in). Offered the audience realistic ways in which action could be taken that would effectively channel their desire to 'do something' upon leaving the cinema. And methane from cows is largely due to our insatiable desire to eat vast amounts of cheap meat....

Ellie

Quite honestly the BEST film i have ever seen. Certainly not unnecessarily anti - capitalist but it is an inescapable truth that the way of life to date of much of the west (ie. that of a capitalist society) is largely responsible for the mess we are in). Offered the audience realistic ways in which action could be taken that would effectively channel their desire to 'do something' upon leaving the cinema. And methane from cows is largely due to our insatiable desire to eat vast amounts of cheap meat....

Nigel

A thought provoking film which supports in an entertaining way the fears of the majority of scientists. Lets hope the population and our politicians act swiftly to ration carbon dioxide output to allow society enough time to accommodate the effects of climate change.

Nigel

A thought provoking film which supports in an entertaining way the fears of the majority of scientists. Lets hope the population and our politicians act swiftly to ration carbon dioxide output to allow society enough time to accommodate the effects of climate change.

Dean

Pretty awful. Trite, self-serving and rather hypocritical. Basically a sugar-coated ant-capitalist rant - it's the equivalent of softer "intelligent design" instead of creationism. No mention of nuclear power, carbon capture, population control, geoengineering, hydrogen etc. It's narrow-minded and political rhetoric masquerading as a populist environmental documentary. Some nice editing though.

Julian

Some very good storylines. Perhaps the most poignant the apparent failed promises of Shell to the Nigerians living close to their oil facilities. There is a really good animation to describe the converge and contract solution to emission reductions that most politicians see as the fairest way to go (but they may never agree). One missed opportunity was a clearer more audible account of how the climate may alter between now and 2055. Mark Lynas was the expert behind the future scenarios but it all went too fast and below my threshold of hearing to know how bas Mark Lynas thinks it will be. A very thought provoking film which everybody should see whether they want to or not. It will wake you up and make you think seriously about the future.

Julian

Some very good storylines. Perhaps the most poignant the apparent failed promises of Shell to the Nigerians living close to their oil facilities. There is a really good animation to describe the converge and contract solution to emission reductions that most politicians see as the fairest way to go (but they may never agree). One missed opportunity was a clearer more audible account of how the climate may alter between now and 2055. Mark Lynas was the expert behind the future scenarios but it all went too fast and below my threshold of hearing to know how bas Mark Lynas thinks it will be. A very thought provoking film which everybody should see whether they want to or not. It will wake you up and make you think seriously about the future.

Jamie

An emotional and sobering film. Treads the fine line between explaining the urgent reality of the science and sensationalising the potential impacts well. The human stories are complex and compelling, showing the inherent contradictions of the human condition. A must see for all who possess a remotely open mind.

Jamie

An emotional and sobering film. Treads the fine line between explaining the urgent reality of the science and sensationalising the potential impacts well. The human stories are complex and compelling, showing the inherent contradictions of the human condition. A must see for all who possess a remotely open mind.

Paul

A missed opportunity. Too much anti-capitalism and virtually nothing about the real carbon problem; methane from cattle.