"Go Further", the new film by award-winning documentary filmmaker Ron Mann, explores the idea that the single individual is the key to large-scale transformational change. The film follows actor Woody Harrelson as he takes a small group of friends on a bio-fuelled bus-ride down the Pacific Coast Highway. Their goal? To show the people they encounter that there are viable alternatives to our habitual, environmentally-destructive behaviors. The travellers include a yoga-teacher, a raw food chef, a hemp-activist, a junk-food addict, and a college student who suspends her life to impulsively hop aboard. We see the hostility these pilgrims encounter, and watch as their ideas are challenged from within and without. We meet an entrepreneur who runs a paper company that does not harm trees; an organic farmer who believes Nature is his partner; a man who teaches environmental activists to use humor as a strategic weapon. And throughout, we see Harrelson test his belief that the transformation ... Written by
I sometimes feel like an alien creature for which there is no earthly explanation. In money, we trust we'll find happiness... the prevailing attitude. Like a genetically modified, irradiated Big Mac is somehow symbolic of food. Morality is legislated, prisons overpopulated, religion is incorporated; the profit motive has permeated all activity. Can you imagine clean water, food and air? Living in community with people who care? Do you dare to feel responsible for every dollar you lay down? You ...
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Following the path of Ken Kesey in his Merry Pranksters trek in the 60s, Go Further, a Canadian documentary by activist Ron Mann (Grass) follows actor Woody Harrelson and his friends as they travel on a bio-fuelled touring bus on a "Simple Organic Living" tour. The Seattle to Los Angeles tour stops at college campuses along the way to speak about alternatives to environmentally damaging practices and the need for conversion to organic food consumption. The group of travelers includes a yoga teacher, a raw food chef, a college student, and a production assistant on the television show Will and Grace. The assistant, Steve Clark, begins the journey as a junk food addict but, assisted by a hastily devised love interest, converts to an organic diet by the end of the trip.
Accompanied by a splendid soundtrack that features eco-minded musicians such as Bob Weir, Michael Franti, Nathalie Merchant, String Cheese Incident, and Dave Matthews, Harrelson pays homage to the sixties, stopping off to meet Ken Kesey shortly before the author's death in 2001. Along the way, the tour encounters some hostility, especially in logging towns but they also meet like-minded people who are doing their part to protect the environment. For example, we meet a man who runs a paper company that doesn't require cutting down trees, an organic farmer who regards nature as his partner, and a lecturer who urges his students to use humor as a strategy for confrontation.
While I certainly support the idea of curbing environmental abuse and wholeheartedly endorse the notion that each individual can make a difference, Go Further falls far short of making a convincing case. Ideas are thrown out in sound bites that are never challenged or fully explored and the film speaks only to the already converted. Woody rails against Bovine Growth Hormone and claims that there is blood and pus in the milk we drink but ignores the more serious fact that BGH is banned in Canada because of suspected links to cancer, diabetes, and immune system problems. The film is well intentioned and funny in parts but is basically a superficial sideshow that is a sitting duck for ridicule from those opposed to its ideas. While there is definitely a need for a hard-hitting investigative documentary into environmentally unsound policies, Go Further, unfortunately, is not it.
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