A man sits in a dark room, chain-smoking and staring at the camera. Thanks to an opening intertitle, we know that this middle-aged gent has been enlisted as a talking-head expert on CIA connections regarding drug-running in inner cities; apparently, though, “he had other things on his mind.” Namely, that oil—the natural resource that holds our society together—will be running out real soon, thus precipitating a complete global meltdown. Oh, and that game-changing financial crisis in September 2008? He’d been predicting that for years. Also, people had better purchase gold and learn to farm their own food, as they’ll be the major currencies after the upcoming apocalypse.
If you guessed that the Chicken Little in the folding chair is Michael Ruppert, investigative journalist and poster boy for paranoiacs everywhere, you’re spot on. Documentarian Chris Smith (American Movie) presents Ruppert as neither a truth-teller nor a nutjob; he simply allows the eerily prescient From the Wilderness author to hold court, interspersing news footage that more often serves as visual spice then as a backup to the last angry man’s points. While this totally impartial approach is admirable, it also robs Collapse of any invested sensibility. Smith has given this bull a stage on which to rage, but why the filmmaker has bothered to mount the platform in the first place is, frustratingly, anybody’s guess.—David Fear
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