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From the acclaimed director of American Movie, this portrait of radical thinker Michael Ruppert explores his apocalyptic vision of the future, spanning the crises in economics, energy, environment and more.
Whether Michael Ruppert is a madman or a prophet, I do not know. What I do know is that all of his suppositions are based on the hardest and most chilling of facts. You will recall your teachings on Cassandra and the famous Cassandra Complex, whereby a person who bears valid warnings and terrible foresight is doomed to watch it happen. They are helpless to stop it because no one will listen to them. Meet Cassandra.
Collapse is an amazing documentary that works on several levels. We'll start with the first: Ruppert's analysis of the world around us is stunningly bleak. Our entire civilization is based on oil. This is fact. All transportation requires oil in some form. All manufacturing (and civilization as we know it) is based on energy, which is finite, and requires some oil in some form. Building the resources to harvest ANY energy source requires manufacturing and transportation, which requires oil. Cultivating food requires energy to produce and transportation to get to your grocery store or home. Even if we discover some new energy source - algae, for example, which is not addressed in the film - all the components needed to harvest or utilize that energy are oil-based. Even if we invent cars without tires (which require 8+ barrels of oil to make, PER TIRE), the plastics and metals and components in those vehicles all require oil as either a direct ingredient or as an indirect part of the manufacturing.
Now imagine a world without oil. See where this is going?
This film, and Ruppert, go much further than that. Oil dependency is just the appetizer. Then we get to Peak Oil (or the Hubbert Peak). Then an economy based on floated, imaginary, (fiat) money. And so on. Ruppert builds his case with hysterically grim anecdotes and considerable authenticity. It's difficult to disagree with him precisely because he doesn't allow 'theory' or partisan/ideological opinion to seep into the discussion. The facts are accurate. The conclusions... are up to you.
Let's talk about the film-making itself: Chris Smith's film is shot 'bunker-style' for effect. It works. There are hardly any miscues in the technical aspects, and the editing style is absolutely riveting and never boring. As pure entertainment, if we can call it that, this film will absolutely command your attention for 80 minutes. The film does not subscribe - one way or another - to Ruppert. It just shows him as he is and allows you to draw your own conclusions. Right or wrong, Ruppert's quest to seek this knowledge and tell it to the world has subtly destroyed him. Collapse works on an intensely personal level, too. This film burns itself into the mind. It's point blank brilliant.
Others have noted a major flaw in Ruppert's arguments, including the filmmaker himself: Ruppert does not allow for miracles or human ingenuity in his apocalyptic scenarios. Ruppert has already decided we've passed the point of no return and is now looking to "build the lifeboat on the Titanic". When confronted about this directly, Ruppert's non-answer more or less says that he won't trust his fellow humans to think a way out of this. Ruppert has so expertly identified the problems, but he has no answers. All his "hope" is directed at ways to survive what's to come. Again, right or wrong, this man absolutely believes what he's saying and is absolutely terrified. You should be, too.
What's the way out? Well, I personally choose to believe the first part of Ruppert's argument and disregard the second. We are in trouble. But I choose to have faith in my fellow man, that we can "fix the Titanic" before it's too late. In the meantime, you must see this film. See it, soak it in, let it shake you, and tell your friends. Draw your own conclusions. Ruppert's role is to sound the warning. Perhaps if enough people see this film, someone out there will figure out what to do.
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