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Lake of Fire (2006)
Somewhat biased, incomplete and not conclusive.
I'm not going to comment on my views on pro-choice or pro-life and the rather different stances of anti-choice and anti-life. I will be commenting on how I felt about this documentary as a film and how I felt about some of its content.
I was attracted to this documentary because it presents itself as being balanced and unbiased. In contrast, is the content of the film. There is entirely too much time devoted to the ramblings of fanatical 'pro-life' men. They were hateful, homophobic and sexist. I'm pretty sure there are rational minded pro-life people who believe in their cause because of a reason other than god - but according to this documentary, they don't exist. The bias factor kicks in when the filmmaker talks about his reaction to a particular pro-life nutjob, and calling him 'evil'... which he is, but the audience can figure that out themselves.
There is also a noted lack of variety in the interviews. Almost everyone is a white male. Some are white females. Almost everyone, I'm certain, talked about god and Christianity. I'm sure people of different ethnicity and religions (or atheists) have something to contribute to the topic.
The abortion procedure along with the images of the foetal organisms are graphic. They were eye-opening and have the ability to sway people in their beliefs. The worst bits, however, come when someone showed the archaic contraception and abortion tools. There is one particular picture of a woman dead with a hanger down there that actually brought tears to my eyes.
Other than that, I liked how the film was set out and although sometimes the time-line wasn't clear or the issues started rambling, it is a good documentary. I just feel that people should be aware of the flaws of the film itself.
If I was undecided before the film, I'd be pro-choice after watching it. The horrible and creepy pro-life men in this film make it very undesirable to be a part of their fight. It's also a concern that they actually might be winning (if this documentary is to be believed).
It's filmed in black and white, with a lot of close-ups, giving it a look of bleak timelessness. It's something I haven't seen in a documentary film before and I'm not entirely sure I want to see that sort of film-making in documentaries again.
Watch it but be wary of the disgust you feel when those men start their rants and when you see the graphic images.
An Inconvenient Truth (2006)
The Facts Vs Propaganda
As a Media Studies student, I've approached this movie critically. Watching Al Gore dish out the facts and the somewhat shocking statistics was very effective. Yet I found myself questioning the validity of his sources, the gathering of his evidences and wondering how he could've presented the opposing arguments with their statistics and then defuse them. He didn't do that consistently. However, I did find the first 40 minutes of this 'documentary' quite engaging. Then his arguments became repetitive and tedious.
Don't get me wrong. Al Gore is a brilliant narrator with a flair for explaining his arguments precisely, effectively and user-friendly. He broke down these complex discussions into simple and understandable terms and theories. I liked the part where he talks about the natural climate change and links it with Global Warming, thus introducing small measures of opposition arguments. I also admired him for linking the changes in Population and Nuclear Arms with his topic. The film itself is brilliant from a technical perspective and the filmmakers use film theories on effectiveness flawlessly. If this was a fictional film, I would award it a much higher rating.
It was those filler clips with Al Gore's personal and professional life completely eliminates this film as a serious documentary investigating the topic of 'Global Warming'. What these clips represent to me, is Al Gore's production team creating an emotional connection with the audience that is completely irrelevant to the topic of discussion. E.G. The overlong sequences of him with his kid, talking about growing up on his farm, of Hurricane Katrina - which was a serious and terrible tragedy - but I felt Al Gore was using this as an excuse to emotionally blackmail people into believing him while highlighting the failure of the Bush Admin. I even managed to catch a clip towards the start of the film where the camera frames his finger with his wedding band in clear view, and also when he choked at the mention of World Trade Center and linking it - trivially - to his topic by saying that the memorial would be underwater was despicable. This was a clear and deliberate sign that propaganda was at work.
In then end, I feel that Al Gore could've tackled this in a lot of different ways. Particularly, the human element that he failed to deliver in this film, could've been approached with him motivating the audience into action by showing ways to help combat Global Warming. This part of the topic is restricted into the last 20 minutes. 'An Inconvenient Truth' promises a lot, but delivers little. It is a disappointment as is he. Why 4.5/10 then? I still believe that his research and the arguments he did provide were enlightening and admirable that he is attempting to make a difference but these qualities are greatly overshadowed by the obvious propaganda he tries to stir. Perhaps a less questioning generation would have appreciated and accepted this alleged documentary.(I believe he addresses this issue too, saying that doubting articles make the consumer confused - true, but do we really want to live in a society where information is not questioned? Where it is not regulated?) My personal affiliations with the topic are somewhat ambiguous; I want to help 'save the environment' but I don't know how and will I even be able to go through with the 'right thing' procedures. Before watching this film, I did and still do believe in Global Warming. However, this 'documentary' did not offer anything for me: I expected him to make the issue into a substantial global alert but what I got were some references to other parts of the world with most of it featuring the problems in North America. Some may argue that Al Gore, being an American who has dabbled in U.S. politics would concentrate on that continent with a special interest in China, the world's fastest growing economy. Once again I have to ask, then what does this documentary offer to me and to viewers like me?