Up 2,263 this week

Switch (I) (2012)

Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.3/10 from 37 users   Metascore: 50/100
Reviews: 5 user | 4 critic | 5 from

What will it really take, to transition from oil and coal, to the energies of tomorrow? SWITCH goes where no film has gone before, deep into the world's most restricted energy sites, to ... See full summary »


0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

IMDb Picks: May

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in May, sponsored by COVERGIRL.

Visit the IMDb Picks section

Related News

Switch Movie Review
| ShockYa

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 133 titles
created 10 Nov 2011
a list of 37 titles
created 02 Oct 2012
a list of 6 titles
created 03 Dec 2012
a list of 13 titles
created 3 months ago
a list of 51 titles
created 3 months ago

Related Items

Search for "Switch" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Switch (2012)

Switch (2012) on IMDb 6.3/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Switch.


Credited cast:
Scott Tinker


What will it really take, to transition from oil and coal, to the energies of tomorrow? SWITCH goes where no film has gone before, deep into the world's most restricted energy sites, to depoliticize competing power sources, make the technical accessible, and discover the truth of our energy future. Test audiences have raved, calling it, 'The most important energy film since An Inconvenient Truth.' Written by Arcos Films

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Official Sites:

| |  »


| | | | | | | |


Release Date:

4 September 2012 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



See  »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Laughably horrible
3 October 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

What a horrible, blatantly obvious attempt to uncritically sing the praises of the various energy industries!! What a wonderful coal mining enterprise out in Wyoming.... Why not mention that the Black Thunder Mine is smack-dab in the middle of the Thunder Basin National Grassland (according to Google Maps, anyway) or how this operation is diverting water resources from farms and crop lands? And why not pay a visit to the Appalachias, home of mountain top removal, to show the dirty secrets left behind by the coal mining industry? In this part, and a few other times, I could not help but noticing the juvenile delight of Scott Tinker to be sitting in one of these "larger-than-life" mechanical monstrosities that dig up and haul away the coal - like a kid in a toy store, or something.

Really?? A few minutes on the Alberta tar sands telling us how much untapped resources are available there and how whatever company it was, is getting this stuff out the ground. Again, not a single mention of the devastating environmental impacts, or the fact that thanks to this futile energy "source" Canada's CO2 emissions are projected to spiral upwards in the next few decades (and that does not include burning the refined oil).

Why not include a trip to Estonia, one of the few countries that actually has a history of shale mining and is now paying the price? As for the guy from Texas who apparently is oblivious to environmental impacts of fracking, may I suggest he watch the documentary "Gasland." And, yes, aren't wind turbines great? No emissions, no obnoxious fumes, and so forth. Never mind the birds and bats (see Nature, June 20, 2012). Maybe this is not much of an issue but at the very least it should have been brought up.

As I said, a completely uncritical look at various energy resources. I realize that we will have to use a mix of these resources to continue to meet energy demand, but at the very least be honest about the downside of each of these. Don't leave the viewer with the impression that there's no environmental (mostly) costs attached to each and everyone of these. If energy consumers have no qualms about ruining the Alberta landscape and wildlife to satisfy their appetite for energy then so be it - but at least show them what the impact is.

But, what is absolutely astounding to me is that this infomercial yaks on about energy for more than 100 minutes without mentioning the single-most important factor in any discussion about energy: EROI!!!!! Or, Energy Return on Investment. How much the consumer is willing (or forced) to pay for a barrel of oil, or any other energy source, is ultimately irrelevant to the energy debate. Economics don't matter!! If it costs more energy to produce energy than we are getting out we're losing the battle. And for the tar sands, biofuels, and some of the others, the EROI is getting uncomfortably close to what many refer to as the energy cliff: EROI < 3. Once we hit that cliff, we can kiss civilization as we know it good bye.

A second way to paint a rosy picture that is very common, and also came up several times in this documentary, is to express energy reserves in terms of current consumption rates. Most people apparently have no grasp of the concept of the "power of two" or of "exponential growth." For example, yes, at current consumption levels, proved coal reserves can last a few hundred years. Factor in a 2% annual growth in energy demand, and all of a sudden these reserves are good for maybe another 50 years.

The beginning of the movie was telling. That's when Scott Tinker introduced the "energy unit" to be used throughout the movie: one year's worth of his energy consumption. Per capita energy consumption in the US is ridiculously high compared to other developed countries (e.g. western Europe), but that's not really the point. By choosing this as the basic energy unit, the focus becomes on how can we meet this energy demand? In other words, it throws out the fundamental question: to achieve a sustainable energy future, should we try to find ways to meet increasing energy demand or do we have to make fundamental changes in how developed societies operate? I'm not surprised this documentary has received much praise and awards from around the world. It conveys exactly the message that people want to hear: yes, there may be a temporary crunch in our pocketbooks but don't worry, the geologists and other scientists are working on finding alternatives that will allow you to continue driving your Toyota Highlander to the local soccer game (in case you missed it, that's the car Scott Tinker pulled out of his garage at the beginning). Maybe replace your windows with more energy-efficient ones, screw in some cfl light bulbs, and spray some insulation material in your attic, etc., but otherwise, continue pursuing the American Dream and by all means, continue to consume, consume, consume.

I'd say this infomercial represents a major victory for the energy lobby and a great disservice to the American people, or whoever else watches this stuff.

The only real solution is what Georgescu Roegen, Herman Daly, and a handful of other economists have been arguing for for some 40 years: a zero-growth economy. Heck, even Adam Smith in his 1776 Opus Magnum "The Wealth of Nations" recognized and admitted that economic growth cannot go on forever.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss Switch (2012) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page