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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.
One review (official review) that I read while watching the trailer to
this film described it at "an intellectual horror movie." Having
listened to Mike Ruppert speak in the past, this comes as no surprise.
From his scathing indictment of Dick Cheney in his talk "The Truth and
Lies of 9/11" to the speech he gave in Seattle in January of 2005
(available in two parts on YouTube under the title "Talk by Michael C.
Ruppert") the picture he paints for the future of the world has been a
stark one for some time now.
However, gloomy is one thing. Being deadly accurate in nearly all predictions is another thing altogether. Ruppert, and his team at From the Wilderness (his newsletter) have been bang on the money when it came to oil prices, housing prices, and of course the collapse of the US housing market, and in other areas as well including drugs, the CIA and 9/11 itself. Ruppert being an ex LAPD narcotics officer who was born into an intelligence family, has had experience in seeing truth where others bury their heads in the sand. When he tried to bring to light evidence that the CIA was dealing drugs within the USA, he was shot at and forced off of LAPD. This was only the beginning of his investigative career, and of the vicious repercussions he suffered because of it. In November of 2004, his book "Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire and the End of the Age of Oil" went largely unnoticed, even though it could serve as a final nail in Dick Cheney's political coffin concerning his culpability for 9/11. Ruppert has said, "This is a book that I, as a detective, would... drop in the lap of a DA and say, 'I want a filing for murder, premeditated, first degree, multiple counts with special circumstances." The best part: he makes no mention of bombs in buildings, or holes in the pentagon, or molten metal, but merely treats the case as another crime to be pieced together and solved. His conclusions are staggering.
And in light of this, to hear what he predicts is yet to come is guaranteed send a chill down your spine, even if you don't believe him. And what does he predict? Nothing short of the collapse of industrialized civilization itself. How could this ever happen? Quite simply, the world runs out of oil. Since everything we do is dependent upon oil... well it's probably best if I let Ruppert speak for himself.
The film plays like one of Ruppert's more impassioned talks, albeit with some cinematography added in to keep the eye amused. We are in an undefined space that looks like a bunker, or an interrogation room. Ruppert sits in a chair, smoking cigarettes (presumably to calm his nerves, or as he's been known to say "I smoke as many cigarettes as I want to, but not nearly as many as the movie would have you believe") and tells us what's on his mind. And by the time you're done seeing "Collapse" it'll be on your mind too... no matter how hard you try not to believe it.
What makes "Collapse" so much more powerful than the angry rants and shenanigans of Michael Moore is that while Moore may be passionate about what he's talking about, it's clear that Ruppert is more than passionate... he's scared to death. What's worse, and also unlike Moore who has received greater publicity than many fiction filmmakers, Ruppert has suffered from a kind of Cassandra syndrome for sometime. His writings and speeches are prophetic and yet, until recently, he has gone mostly unnoticed by the majority of people. Despite this, he's cracked open some of the biggest cases of all time: the CIA dealing drugs, empirical evidence that Dick Cheney was directly responsible for thousands of deaths on 9/11, and most recently, the collapse of the global housing market. It's not difficult to picture a similar but more ancient voice shouting "Don't let the horse through the gates of Troy! It will bring ruin!" only to be met with violence and humiliation.
As is true with so many visionaries, Mike Ruppert is just now beginning to be heard... and like so many useful visions, the realization is coming too late.
Michael Ruppert is a 55-year-old one-time LA cop whom the CIA tried to
recruit to import drugs in the 70's. He made this public; was fired
from the police force; was shot at. In the 30 years since, he has been
an investigative reporter, lecturer and conspiracy theorist. In the
riveting, compulsive, perhaps indispensable film 'Collapse,' Chris
Smith (of 'American Movie' and 'The Yes Men') spends 82 minutes
interviewing Ruppert Errol Morris style with nonstop intensity
(seamlessly and effectively using archival footage to illustrate the
points and increase the energy level) shooting him in a darkened
basement under a bright spot in immaculate shirtsleeves, chain smoking,
with baggy eyes and neatly trimmed mustache. Supremely confident,
hardened by decades of facing scoffers, deeply angry, Ruppert by nature
skates on the edge between prophet and crackpot. But when he speaks,
you listen. And he has a lot to say.
Ruppert hits us right away with peak oil, arguing that though actual supplies have been kept hidden by governments, even Saudi Arabia, which has more than anybody, is starting to run out, and we're clearly now on the down slope of the bell curve. He says no substitute will really work, because all the alternative energy sources require too much energy themselves to produce. The planet's infrastructure is going to shut down; it's just a matter of time. Parallel to this is economic collapse, and he predicted the present crisis -- but expected it a year or so earlier. (Mighn't he be jumping the gun a little on this larger collapse?)
Ruppert is a survivalist, warning us all to live locally. He compares the fates of North Korea vs. Cuba when they lost the Soviet oil lifeline: Korea, a monolithic dictatorship, took a terrible hit. So did Cuba, but people pulled together there, raised crops locally in every available spot of land, and soldiered through so well they're now eating better than ever. He would have us take the same route: raise our own food, and horde gold -- the actual metal, not paper certificates -- and organic seeds, which in a world stripped of supply will become currency.
Ruppert is a smoker, and Smith doesn't hesitate to show every time he lights up. This looks like a marathon, and the interview -- with challenging, skeptical questions off camera from the director from time to time, not that this overconfident autodidact type ever wavers -- is so intense Ruppert actually breaks down and weeps more than once at the hopelessness of it all.
Smith's film is effective, and if it leaves you in some doubt whether the man is a kook or a visionary maybe that's part of the sense of radical unease you may justifiably feel walking out of the theater. Though Ruppert is made to seem both knowing and deranged, his talk is smart and well-informed. Clearly fossil fuels are finite. It all depends on transportation; it all depends on electricity. Without oil, these shut down. If seven gallons of oil go into the making of every tire, how are we going to make a whole new set of cars that run on something else? What about plastics? What about overpopulation? Ethanol is a sick joke, clean coal a lie. Even wind and solar power won't be possible because we won't have the energy to set up the power sources to utilize them. Global warming is just the planet's way of crying "uncle." When oil runs out, we'd better be ready before the infrastructures all collapse, or it's going to be hard going. We've got to downsize. It won't be easy.
It's rare that anybody thinks things through this far. No wonder the tears come. They come when he thinks of Barack Obama, a smart, good, honest man, he says, but someone so locked into the systems that we can't look to him for help. And that's very, very sad. The world's last, best hope is an illusion. (These are just a few of Ruppert's points: into these 82 minutes he condenses the fruits of decades of independent thought and study.)
Smith asks Ruppert what spiritual beliefs sustain him and he simply quotes the Bible: "money is the root of all evil." He asserts that we must find ways to live without growth and profit as guiding motives. The pervasive pursuit of money is the great, tragic human flaw.
This is an intensified and distilled Michael Ruppert, very effective but a bit misleading: he has other facets. In another setting glimpsed in the film but available in full on YouTube you can see Ruppert in a suit and tie giving a rambling, self-indulgent slide lecture full of many of the same interesting facts he likes to cite, including the government's reliance on drug trading, but very different in feeling and veering (though he denies this elsewhere) into 9/11 Truth territory. Collapse ends with captions noting that Ruppert, whose only friend seems to be his faithful dog, is having trouble paying his rent and may be evicted from his Culver City place.
But again on YouTube you find him being interviewed recently in Oregon, where he has moved, looking and sounding sunny and grounded and socially connected. If he's a kook, he has lots of friends, some of them quite respectable, and "Peak Oil" is a rallying cry for many. The YouTube videos show Ruppert isn't always the intense nut case Smith gives us. He suffers, he thinks too much, but he can have fun; he can talk without a smoke. He feels Ashland is a place among many (including much of South America) where sustainability will be possible when the paradigm shift comes. The end of he world won't be the end of the world. This may not totally convince you, but it will scare you. Rupert protests in Smith's movie that he deals in conspiracy facts, not conspiracy theories. He just may be right.
Might there be confusion seeing only one man starring in this
documentary the viewer should not think of it as ''something useless''.
There is not much to add or to comment as to mention that it is very
educational, wise, thought through story revealing the events in
I would surely say - the most important movie for the 21st century man.
We live in a fairytale where everybody has a hope that the ''good'' will overcome the ''evil'' no matter how bad it is, because it will be better... in the end that's the way fairy tales end, don't they? The ugly truth is that no magical wonderland exists, there is only now and here and this movie shows you WHAT ACTUALLY IS NOW AND HERE.
Mike Ruppert is stand-up and caring person and it's a difficult burden
he's chosen. If you catch the meaning, the ending of this documentary
says it all. His has lived a life without reward and I have the utmost
respect for his courage and determination. Keep going Mike, some of us
are listening carefully to you and others like you.
It seems I need to continue my comment based on IMDb policy of ten lines. That doesn't impress me as necessary, but I see the decision isn't mine. It's a great film, go and watch it. Anyway, hopefully this is enough to satisfy the rules. Why the needless wordiness IMDb? I liked the film and the participant, that isn't enough said? I'll bet many reviews never get posted based on the ambiguous ten lines rule.
There are more in depth reviews elsewhere, I have nothing new or
interesting to add about the films style, I just want to speak to a
couple of criticisms that seem to be common among them.
1. Ruppert discounts human ingenuity.
Having the benefit of the internet and the ability to research, you will find that even generous estimates tell us that any new power grid would take 30 years to establish. This means that if aliens came down to earth and gave us a perfect technology that required no input and had zero emissions it would still require a lot of oil and time to build an infrastructure to support it. The fact is oil has artificially increased our carrying capacity and when its gone, the excess population will go with it. The standard of living we all have come to demand will likely never return and certainly not for 7+ billion people. (not that we all have Hummers and flat screens now)
2. The San Francisco (chronicle?) lauds the moment Ruppert cries because they think he is lamenting the fate of humanity.
I think it's highly likely, and more compelling to look at the beginning of the documentary where he says he's lost his fiancé to betrayal and only has his dog, the beach, and this movement to get him by. He's crying because he thinks it will take a community to survive in the aftermath of the collapse, and he has no loved ones.
Chris Smith's documentary about an independent reporter convinced that
the world as we know it is about to end is a compelling experience.
Smith is simply masterful in his presentation. Collapse takes place in
a dark room, with Ruppert being interviewed over three days and some
archive footage and yet never gets remotely dull. Amazing
cinematography, tight editing and good use of music help a lot.
But the real element that grabs you is Smith's subject. Ruppert will be seen by some as a prophet and by others as a nutcase but he has a magnetism on screen that is undeniable. This ex-cop is well-spoken it is very obvious that he has given conferences and presentations as he begins to explain his theories.
The main point Ruppert is trying to get across is undeniable. Our planet has finite resources which will not be able to sustain our current way of life indefinitely. But Ruppert's actual discourse will never be confused with a green activist as he veers constantly into subjects such as peak oil, politicians and banks. Where Ruppert is more questionable is when he mixes opinions with facts.
Ruppert repeats that he is not a conspiracy theorist yet often acts like ones. He constantly cites people, studies and historic events that favors his point of views and ignores the rest. These are old techniques that have been used by countless gurus, theorists and leaders and Ruppert does it very effectively.
This mix of truth and speculation works because the part that is truth is monumentally percussive: We as a species will not be able to live this way forever.
Ruppert posits that the system is crashing down fast but you don't have to believe this to enjoy this documentary. He interprets all sorts of world events as symptoms and yet again, you can take it or leave it. He claims he has been shot at and that US presidents have taken a personal interest in him without offering any evidence and you can discard this. He makes a compelling argument that alternative energies we are exploring are not sustainable/viable in their actual form but you can choose to disagree. He lashes at the deficiencies of globalization and you could ignore that too.
What you can't ignore is that change will have to happen. Smith seems confident that the audience will make up their minds about Ruppert and his theories. You do not have to share Ruppert's quasi-apocalyptic vision of the future to have a great time watching this.
Despite the praise, Collapse is not without a few flaws. I wished more time had been devoted to questioning Ruppert's wilder claims. Shot at? When? Where? Who? I also thought Ruppert's angle was too focused on the US and would have loved to hear his opinion on China and a few other things.
But overall, this is a nice documentary with an air of political thriller to it. Whether it is academic or objective, is left for each viewer to decide.
The best documentary I've ever seen, Never got boring and sets the
impending alarm bells off. What he talks of could effects 99% of the
human race.... and all within a lifetime.
The truth does hurt and ignorance is bliss. But ultimately people should know the likeliness of truth. Capitalism is the main culprit in all of this, as well as laziness, wastefulness of resources and an overpopulation. It won't be the end of the world, it will be the end of us, as we are now. A lot of people will struggle, way more than they do now.
He ain't a prophet as some will suggest, he's just thinking for himself and coming to the conclusion he has. His points are valid and I admire anyone who can stand up and shout from the rooftop, of the stuff people/companies/governments brush under the carpet.
Even if his time-lines are inaccurate, I don't think people should disregard his claims and regard him as a crackpot. What he says in this astonishing interview is weighing up a likely outcome that will effect virtually everyone on this planet.
What I mean by that is he doesn't come across like a David Icke or Alex
Jones type. He's not putting out DVD after DVD telling your life is
being controlled by hidden people and such. He comes across as very
well spoken guy and one that you could sit down and have a beer with or
sit at a table and just have long conversations with. I guess I mean he
doesn't seem to be a nut.
I would like to have had more info on a lot of his quotes but I guess that would likely take an 80 minute documentary into like 3 or 4 hours (which I wouldn't have minded). I might just buy some if his books to take a look to see how much more in depth he gets on most of the topics he covers in this documentary.
For me, watching this, it was like it's about time. What I mean by that is finally someone who doesn't come across as a street corner preacher or a bona fide nut. This guy is just talking about real issues that matter, or at least they should matter.
I had never heard of Michael Ruppert before watching this documentary
and, being honest, it is likely that I will never hear of him again but
it is more than likely that the future may make me hark back to the
basic points that he makes in this film. Collapse is basically an
interview with Ruppert where he presents his views on a world that is
unsustainable and unwilling to really make the hard decisions and face
the stark reality of the situation that perhaps could help us cope when
the systems and world that we accept live in now starts to collapse.
Taking the reliance on oil as his starting point, Ruppert takes us
through a world where time is running out and that the economic
collapse that he predicted will only the first of many.
Essentially what this film does is the equivalent of getting stuck at a bus stop listening to a guy who is convinced that the world is going to come to an end and that "they" are just keeping us in the dark for some reason. I don't mean this as negatively as it sounds but it is fair to say that this film doesn't hide the fact that at times Ruppert gets carried away with himself, doesn't always cope well with having the totally open stage that he has in the interview, gets passionate, is obsessive and does happen to make statements that (out of context) come off as paranoid and doomsday in nature. It is also fair to say that, unless you already share his mindset, that there will be several times during the film where he goes further than you will be willing to go or says things that either don't make sense, seem like a stretch or that you just plain disagree with.
Mostly the film lets him talk so it is only fair that these moments are left in the film because it does let us see that, being frank, Ruppert is obsessive and that perhaps some of what he says is exaggerated and extreme but this is not to say that he is 100% wrong. So while I personally don't agree with him on the imminent nature of the collapse of the oil reserves (or that they are significantly smaller than "they" are telling us), one cannot really argue that from plastics to fuel, we really have put all our eggs into the "oil" basket and that supplies are simply not infinite. Likewise, because all of our eggs are in one place, moving them may well be possible in small numbers but if we suddenly have no basket we're going to have a load of broken eggs. At this level the film is engaging and provides plenty to think about and I think that Ruppert is at his best when he is talking generally because his basic points are hard to argue; it is only when he gets into specifics or gets tied up in details that he begins to say "they" too often or get a bit more emotional.
These moments hurt the film by hurting him, although in fairness since the documentary is technically about him, then it is all part of the film and is a good bit of balance. So yes, Collapse will lose you at some point but it will also engage you at many more; it isn't the most factual of documentaries nor is it the best in terms of structure but I found it mostly very engaging and it sent me onto news sites and opinion sites on the internet to read up on some of the less "opinion" related "facts" that it Ruppert presents. Worth seeing for its faults because it is engaging and provides much to think about, even if your conclusions may not lie as far out there as Ruppert's.
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