Collapse (2009) Poster

(II) (2009)

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a monologue
SnoopyStyle28 June 2016
Michael Ruppert is best known for being a whistle blower to CIA smuggling drugs into American during the 80's. More than that controversy, he has a string of devastating observations and a prediction of the coming worldwide collapse. He was an LAPD officer in South Central. He has written books about world problems. In a stark room, director Chris Smith interviews Ruppert as he talks about peak oil, energy, Iraq war, food, mortgage derivatives, fiat currency, and much more.

There are two ways to take this documentary. One can take Ruppert seriously and agree with his diatribe. One can also see him as a conspiracy theorist ranting. I don't think the movie is good enough to do either. I'm not claiming that this guy is crazy or that he's prophetic. His monologue is too wide-ranging to be focused into a cogent argument about one issue. He's also not crazy enough and the doc is not deep enough into his personal life to make case of his mental stability. It exists a little of both and depends on the viewer to make the determination. I can't wait for Oliver Stone to do a movie about him.
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Ruppert does push things too far but this film is still engaging as challenging food for thought
bob the moo13 March 2011
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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The Ruppert Prophecies
tieman6420 December 2010
Warning: Spoilers
"Collapse" is an eighty minute diatribe by Michael Ruppert, a former LAPD officer and longtime investigative journalist who has been working for years to piece together what he believes to be an imminent doomsday scenario.

The film simply consists of Ruppert sitting in a warehouse whilst he rants at length about various issues. Spliced into his speech are bits of archival and news footage, all of which add spice and evidence to his claims. Those familiar with writings on peak oil, global oil reserves, Ponzi scheme economies, alternative energy, gold etc will be familiar with much of which Ruppert says here, but the sheer energy of his monologue creates a frightening picture nevertheless.

There's currently a huge market for these types of documentaries, which promise jaded audiences a glimpse into some master conspiracy or doomsday prophecy. These docs typically rely on all kinds of audience psychoses, so it's refreshing to see one in which the sanity of the subject is itself the subject. In this regard, the "Collapse" of the film's title refers, not only to the collapse of our society as we know it, but the possible mental collapse of Ruppert. Is he a seer or a madman?

A bit of both, the film seems to say. On one hand, we see the toll Ruppert's line of work and obsessions have had on his body, mind and life, on the other, we accept that this is an intelligent man who knows what he's talking about. Indeed, Ruppert's parents worked in government intelligence and he himself has revealed several government conspiracies in the past (in which the CIA was implicated in a drug trafficking operation and various assassinations), all of which make him one of the biggest whistle-blowers in the world. Combine this with the fact that he was a LA cop, author and investigative journalist, and it seems that Ruppert is a man of standing and worth taking seriously. With his hard-nosed, critical and inquisitive nature, Ruppert essentially comes across as a Philip Marlowe styled private investigator, which is fitting, as what he's doing is battling the very conspiratorial universe of noir.

And yet the sensationalist style of the documentary, itself verging on parody, dares us not to take Ruppert seriously. Dares us to see him as a madman. What "Collapse" ultimately argues is, not only does it take a special madness to be drawn to these documentaries, but that those who reject Ruppert's foresight (ie those lost in denial and upholding false realities) themselves become the madmen if and when Ruppert is proved right.

8/10 - Worth one viewing.
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"It's the end of the world as we know it...and nobody's feeling fine"
Buddy-514 August 2011
Ever get the feeling that the world is spinning out of control? That human civilization is hanging by the slenderest of slender threads? That we're all teetering on the brink of a very steep precipice? (Feel free to insert your own doom-and-gloom metaphor here, if you'd like).

Well, if so, you may just want to go hide under your covers or jump into a hole and pull it in after you (or at least make yourself a good, stiff drink) after you've seen "Collapse," as starkly pessimistic a look at humanity's future as you could ever hope – or not hope – to see. If nothing else, this film could do wonders for Prozac sales.

It takes awhile to even figure out what "Collapse" is really all about. That's partly because the subject of Chris Smith's documentary, Michael Ruppert – investigative journalist, author, lecturer, self-taught energy expert, corporate whistleblower and overall Voice of Doom - is so freewheeling and free-ranging in the extended rant he delivers for the camera that we often have trouble tying all the loose ends together into a coherent whole. But danged if his "crazy," "conspiracy-theory" view of how the world actually works doesn't begin to make sense and to take some sort of root in our psyche – leaving us both depressed and scared out of our collective wits by film's end.

Ruppert lays the blame for most of the world's ills directly at the feet of Big Oil, or, more accurately, on our insane dependence on a substance that is part of virtually every product we use in our daily lives and that, ironically, is even necessary for so-called "green" technologies to function. This, of course, has led to a great deal of corporate and governmental corruption which Ruppert outlines for us in graphic detail – not to mention all the wars fought over it.

But Ruppert's tirade has only just begun. He explains in detail the derivatives-based cause of the recent worldwide financial collapse and shows how the entire global economy is little more than a massive, ultimately unsustainable "pyramid scheme" that is doomed to collapse of its own weight, sooner rather than later, bringing all of us down with it.

And if that isn't white-knuckle-inducing enough for you, Ruppert then predicts the end of a paradigm, comparable to the one, he says, that destroyed the dinosaurs, only this collapse will be economic and social in nature and strictly one of mankind's own making. Much of this he blames on the huge spike in human population beginning with the Industrial Revolution and the concomitant rise in our use of fossil fuels (thus the tie-in to his earlier rant). And as the earth's finite resources, particularly oil, begin to peter out, the end will come for our modern, technology-driven civilization.

He predicts that the FDIC and the Federal Reserve will inevitably become insolvent, which will lead to worldwide chaos and the destruction of whole societies. This movie is entitled "Collapse" for a reason, and Ruppert pulls no punches in laying out his darkly foreboding – nay, apocalyptic - view of what we face as a species, which is the complete collapse of civilization as we know it. Indeed, towards the end, he goes so far as to describe this as nothing less than the "extinction event" of human society.

His sense of resentment and frustration is palpable as he chronicles how, like a modern-day Cassandra, he foresaw the current economic crisis years before it happened but was not only totally ignored by those with the power and the purse-strings to do something about it but derided as a "conspiracy theorist" for his efforts at spreading the news. The proof is in the pudding, he would argue, so he feels no need to debate his point-of-view anymore. His eyes well-up with tears as he thinks about where we're all headed, and he consoles himself with trying to enjoy the little things in life - composing and playing songs, taking walks on the beach with his dog, etc. - as the world comes crashing down around him.

He does provide some "survival tips" towards the end, mainly centered on finding one's own piece of arable land and cultivating it with the help of a local community of likeminded survivors. Somehow that's small comfort to those of us who wouldn't know a turnip from a tulip. (For a pop culture reference point, the picture of the world he creates is a bit like the one in "The Walking Dead," only minus the zombies).

The only real solution, according to Ruppert, is to ride out the coming holocaust as best one can, then go about the business of rebuilding civilization from the ground up.

And on that happy note…have a nice day!
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He's seen the future and it's made him (half) crazy
Chris Knipp15 December 2009
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.
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Seer or charlatan, it's hard to dismiss his concerns
bandw19 September 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This film consists of interviews with one Michael Ruppert, a former cop with the LAPD, specializing in narcotics. Outside of promoting the themes in this movie, Ruppert is best known for his charges of CIA drug dealings in the 1970s.

In this movie Ruppert makes a case for an impending collapse in the world economies, based primarily on oil and gas depletion. You can't dismiss the basic truth that oil is a finite resource and that it drives the world economy. In fact one of the things this movie convinced me of is just how dependent we are on oil and gas--they are used to manufacture almost all of the products the major economies depend on: from plastics, to autos, to food distribution. Oil and gas also create most of the energy used. And of course there is the enormous drain on oil supplies for automobile and truck transportation. The depletion of the world's oil reserves will undoubtedly require major readjustments. The crux of the argument Ruppert makes is just how sudden the transition away from an oil based economy will be. He thinks that it will be in the near-term and result in a dramatic collapse. He does discuss a transition period, which we are clearly in right now. The question is just how short that transition period will be, and what damage will be done before we get through it. How many oil spills will we have to endure?

Ruppert views capitalist economies as giant Ponzi schemes that depend on infinite growth. A point in favor of this argument is the economic crisis that occurred in the fall of 2008. Things are so interconnected now that one does get the feeling that it would not take much for the whole house of cards to collapse.

Ruppert's suggestions for those who subscribe to his views are not terribly consoling. He promotes private gardens. If things get so bad that people are depending on private gardens for survival, then I think people are going to have to sit nearby with shotguns to protect their tomatoes. He thinks that paper money offers no protection-- hyperinflation could result in having to use wheelbarrows of money to buy a loaf of bread, like in Germany in the 1920s. He suggests buying gold, not gold stocks, but actual gold. I can't see that as a hedge--if paper money becomes essentially worthless, is the local grocer going to take a few grains of gold in exchange for food? If Ruppert converts you to his way of seeing the future, then you are left feeling rather helpless and depressed.

In any case, credit this movie for treating serious issues and making you think. That can't be said for very many movies.
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It's not quite that bad
sarastro79 August 2010
Warning: Spoilers
If capitalism keeps motoring ahead like it does now, of course it will eventually use up a lot of essential resources. And yes, the finite oil supply is a big problem that will one day have to be dealt with. And yes, if things continue with nothing being done whatsoever, there could be a major collapse from which civilization might not rise again for quite some time.

But that's a lot of ifs! Ruppert has stared himself blind on oil, and is ignoring the prodigious capacities of scientific development and the human capacity for change. The truth is that while the world's governments are indeed the wretched remnants of the social orders of several centuries ago, the world's general populace is much more cool with the modern condition of constant change, and the social transformations necessary for our civilization to adapt to the resources we do have in a more efficient way will certainly be coming when they are truly needed (and yes, that could well be quite soon).

Ruppert reasons that finite resources cannot sustain infinite growth. This is not entirely correct. They cannot sustain the kind of growth that preys on those resources, but infinite growth can still happen based on renewable resources and efficient recycling. Ruppert reckons without science. The nature of technological development is to constant do more with less. Use power ever more efficiently. Before long we will have PCs and cell phones which can run for hours on the power generated by a few seconds worth of using a hand dynamo.

Similarly, what has caused the population explosion is not oil, but science. Most of the increased population has NOT been in the western world, where most of the oil is used, but in Asia and other more or less poor countries, where the improved agricultural know-how produced by the modern world has revolutionized the subsistence level of those populations, enabling them to have lots of children. As their standard of living rises, they will start having fewer children, not more. That's the pattern we see in the West: people have so much to do in terms of work and interests that there isn't time to prioritize the production and care-taking of large numbers of children per family.

And besides, the world can sustain even more people than it does now. Food is being distributed in idiotic ways where something like two thirds of it go to waste (because it can't be sold at "acceptable prices") - even in your average supermarket they throw away whole container loads of bread, fruit and a lot of other stuff that hasn't been sold during the day. There ought to be a way of insuring against this kind of mindless waste.

Will there be a paradigm shift inside the next few decades? Yes. Will there be social transformations? Yes. Will we have to find alternatives to oil? Of course. Will we all have to subsist by growing our own food locally and live in such balance with nature that there will be no real future for a civilization worshipping growth? Hell no! As science advances, growth in all sorts of areas will explode.

Ruppert's view is a much too bleak one. There may be problems, riots and revolutions here and there in the near future, and there may even be a 1930s-scale economic depression, but civilization didn't collapse then, and it's not going to now. Despite our shortcomings and shortsightedness, we have come too far not to be viable. We can always adjust. Even if we have to choose a new form of government in order to do so.
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a passionate man viewing the world from his personal understanding of it
Rob-O-Cop19 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
this movie looks good, and plays like cinema and that perhaps for me was its undoing, apart from some of the logical an perceptual flaws in Rupperts Argument. I'm sure it all does make perfect sense to him with his Armchair analysis stance and his bachelors degree in political science but this movie does show his flaws as well as his strengths which unfortunately come across as slightly staged, with perfect lighting, Hollywood smoking (oh so cool) all edited and shot for drama!!.

This doesn't help at all because it makes the message seem like fiction and it may not be, but we're not going to know from this film.

When he says with a tear in his eye that everything they've said has come to pass "predictions have been completely validated by events" (from his wiki page), well look out side the window. a little too quick to pat oneself on the back perhaps. We may be heading for a collapse but it hasn't happened yet and while I sit here chomping on my processed food its not looking like it'll be here tomorrow either. Best time to say I told you so is after the fact and we're still burning oil and eating twinkies.

So this film, rather than being a movie about the message of Michael Ruppert is a movie about the man who is Michael Ruppert, and I don't know that that serves his message that well. It certainly highlights his ego and his self love, but if his message is as important as he thinks it is he's done it a disservice by making himself the center of this film.
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Don't miss it.
rgcustomer4 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This is an excellent documentary about the man Mike Ruppert, and his (so far, correct) predictions about how the collapse of our civilization is unfolding.

The filmmakers take no sides, choosing to focus on the man himself, rather than testing the accuracy or likelihood of his claims. I think it was a good decision. But I'd still like to see a follow-up where the claims themselves are the focus.

Does Mike say some off-the-wall things? Does he speak in clichés that would make Dan Rather cringe? Does he break down? Yes. Is he in fact nuts? Maybe so. It's all there, unvarnished. But somehow, despite the filmmaker's desire to parallel the theory of collapse with Mike's own life, it doesn't harm Mike's message, which comes through clearly and believably, despite what you think of the man.

Here is a guy that is totally convinced that he has proof that we are headed for a mass extinction of (most of) humanity, and that there is nothing we can do to stop it. And it's not even global warming. It's scarcity of oil, which we need for almost everything we produce, even if those things contain no oil and use no oil themselves. The billions on this planet exist solely because we use oil to make their lives possible. And it's going away. Everyone knows this, in the back of their head. But almost nobody is doing anything real about it.

After adeptly revealing our oil-consuming economy for the massive Ponzi scheme it inherently is, Mike calls for a paradigm shift, a way of harmonizing our behaviour so that we can sustain ourselves in our environment, our planet.

While he remains certain that there is not a thing we can do to prevent collapse, and that even those with the most power are effectively powerless to change what is coming or to protect themselves from significant losses, what inspires him and the viewer is the knowledge that individuals at the local level can make changes in their own lives (such as growing their own food with heirloom seeds) which will enable them to better survive the transition to the new reality. It's important to note that he does see a transition, rather than a termination.

What is most striking is that there's nothing in here that you need a degree to understand. It's all described very simply and clearly. (Again, this is why some analysis of the claims would be nice, in a follow-up).

Did I mention it was not a happy film? But now is the time to plan which lifeboat you and your children are going to be on.
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The garden urination recommendation gave me pause, the open weeping in the camera was a bit much
bob_meg17 April 2011
Chris Smith's "Collapse" is a strange documentary, but an objective one.

There's much in Michael Ruppert's views that are worth being concerned about. It's not like he pulled the information from his hind end...much of it has been documented ad nauseum in different mediums.

It's to Smith's credit that he did not try to make Ruppert seem more credible than he is. In fact, there are times when he seems to go to great lengths to demonstrate how emotionally unstable his subject appears to be. It's obvious Ruppert carries around a lot of baggage that has resulted in a hyper-paranoid, overly-alarmist sensibility. He talks about being the type who "builds the lifeboats" in a Titanic scenario --- exactly what lifeboats has he built? I just see him standing on the bridge, waving like a maniac.

Information is only as good as its source and Ruppert is damaged goods: he's twitchy, chain-smokes incessantly, alternates between defensive and ranting responses, refuses to answer questions that challenge his "credentials" (shaky, at best), advocates survivalist measures, and weeps openly into the camera.

Look, I'm not saying anything Ruppert believes will NOT come to pass. My problem is that he comes across as such a fractured emotional basket case that it's hard if not impossible to take him seriously unless he's telling you what you want to hear in the first place.

If he was credible, he'd probably be dead by now. But if the CIA doesn't take him seriously, should we? This doc has been compared favorably to Erroll Morris' "The Fog of War" --- unfortunately, McNamara is a believable source, Ruppert is not, though I have no doubt that he wishes he was with all his heart.
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The one thing he didn't say is the worst of all
bobbobwhite28 September 2010
As others have reviewed this documentary, I will mostly comment on its subject matter. Michael Ruppert showed well that he is a credible canary in the mineshaft for global awareness of humanity's problems that must be corrected for continued life on earth.

All of his concerns are true, and some are even worse than he stated, but the very worst problem of all didn't even get a mention from him....that of global overpopulation that is the root cause of all the symptoms of our existence troubles that he did state.

To simplify......if the world's population was 20% of what it is now, the maximum sustainable figure, all of Ruppert's concerns for human existence would not be crucial for thousands more years when real solutions to the problems he stated might be available. But, we cry about the symptoms and don't care one bit about the cause so we continue to overpopulate all countries with uncontrolled new births, and are continually overburdened with resultant and mostly unsolvable problems as a result. Air, water, oil, food, and every single other problem of today that Ruppert stated has been caused by overpopulation, but still we cry only about symptoms, as Ruppert does, instead of the root cause of all our global problems....too many people being born with no controls on it and, what is much worse, no gov't or societal thought even being given to it.

As a result of that typical human stupidity and shortsightedness we are done, people, it is just a matter of time, and not that much time either, as your own young grandchildren will suffer badly as a result. But, still you don't care, so nothing is ever done about it. We don't deserve any more time on earth if we don't even care enough about protecting our continued existence by working on the cause of all of our problems.
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Doesn't come across like the others....
nomoons1126 June 2010
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.
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Absolutely amazing movie - a must see!
the_wolf_imdb26 October 2011
I do not trust conspiracy theoreticians, especially the paranoid ones. The narrator (Michael Rupert) was a suspicious person for me at the start, like many others "alternative history" researchers (the pyramids were built by Antlantians, no one was ever on the Moon etc.) But basically most of he said in the movie has perfect sense. His outcomes are somewhat radical - he basically dismisses advances in technology like recycling, alternative power sources etc., but he exactly points out the main problem of mankind today: The faith in unlimited growth, faith in virtual value of money created by leverage effect in banks, unsustainable dependence on oil, too quick and unsustainable population explosion.

I would not call his outcomes as a "must happen" scenario and I do not trust all he said, but this movie is definitely worth seeing. We take too much luxury in our lives as granted (social security, cheap energy and food, accessible medicine) - and many people still do complain. This luxury is made on expense of cheap energy and goods and may be gone for good quite soon. No one seems too much to care though.

Ruppert explains his views in understandable and logical manner. He builds one logical argument after another, maybe in a bit theatrical manner, but it does not removes validity from his arguments. He was right in past on many occasions and he is definitely not some clown with bizarre theories. You may not agree with his views, but you should most definitely see this movie and think about what he says. This lecture is most definitely worth your time!
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Siamois23 June 2010
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.
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An interview with an activist, jazzed up with some stock video
wavecat137 December 2020
This is an interview with journalist/activist Michael Ruppert, jazzed up with some stock footage. Ruppert's view is similar to that of James Howard Kunstler, the Black Swan guy, and others. He talks about rampant corruption and how the end of the oil economy is coming soon, and the destruction that would bring. His personal story is interesting - the son of a couple of people involved in top secret government work, he went to college and became a Los Angeles cop before becoming an activist and drawing a lot of negative attention. Unfortunately it seems very likely that he is speaking from a place of paranoia.
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Infinite growth is insanity indeed
AJ4F5 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
It's good to see someone who looks at the world straight-on, not through the filtered lens most people use to keep themselves oblivious to the "big picture." Many scientists have simultaneously reached Ruppert's conclusions and it's mostly common sense. Their delivery of the message just isn't as stark because they're constrained by political correctness.

Ruppert drives home a point that gets woefully underplayed: A finite planet can't sustain infinite economic & population growth and you can't eat, drink or breath money. He also draws attention to the direct role of oil in enabling extreme population growth; and that lack of oil may limit growth automatically. That was thought-provoking; massive die-offs or just a sudden drop in procreation?

I do see a contradiction in someone who chain-smokes, yet is worried about the future. Does he have a death wish or was it just a habit he took up before he became a futurist? Either way, his evidence-based outlook rises above personal flaws. His analogies about the Titanic are dead on, and the depiction of us literally eating oil is well done.

Especially disturbing is the realization that the Bushes & Cheneys of the world know what's going on but don't want to fix the root causes. They come off as even more wicked than people thought.

Some weak points were Ruppert's casual dismissal of nuclear, based on the cost of constructing new plants (I think it has more potential than wind-power, not to mention its smaller footprint). He also didn't comment on the practicality of solar panels on existing rooftops, preferring to nitpick large scale plants that must send power long distances. There was a general attitude of resignation that nothing can replace oil. True in large measure, but not the all-or-nothing scenario he gives.

The question is whether the average shallow-thinker with fake smile and cellphone glued to ear is able to process reality Ruppert style. So far it doesn't seem likely.
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Yaaay! The End Of The World Is Finally Happening!
E-un23 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Well, it has to be said from the off that Michael Ruppert is either one canny fella, or he's the craziest ding-bat you ever heard of. I have to take this with some level of salt grain-age, because we've heard these sort of arguments before. Plus, he's a self-confessed (at least at one time) Conservative, which gives me pause for thought.

But... and it's a biggie... the things he says make so much sense, and at some level I've had similar thoughts myself. I truly believe that we need to find alternatives to oil, but at the same time I know that oil is used in so many applications that there simply anything else that will do the full job. Literally everything you own, barring a few items, contains some level of plastic. And even if it doesn't you can bet that plastic played some part in its manufacture or packaging. But I digress.

Simply put, Ruppert is foretelling the complete breakdown of the life you know. He absolutely positively predicted the economic disaster we're now living through, and like him, I don't think it's getting better. His foreshadowing of riots and revolutions hits home when one considers the recent events in Egypt, Libya, and other places around the world. And then there's Japan, literally making nuclear energy a long-shot too.

Individually, these notions don't seem to add up to much, but Ruppert does manage to tell a compelling narrative, glues all the pieces together with a level of knowledge that's certainly impressive. So why imagine that we're in the final throes of modern civilization? The answers all surround the notion of Peak Oil, that we're on the downward spiral and the supply is getting less and less. Oil is literally everywhere, from the tires on your car, to the pesticides that are used to grow your food, and there's no quick way to turn this roller-coaster around. So, Ruppert advocates preparing for the long haul, learn to live locally, and stop relying on the miracle of the supermarket.

Either way, it's advice that can't hurt. Just one question: should I stock up on duct tape and bullets as well?
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What a crackpot!
surface666926 September 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I just watched a slightly edited version of this film on the "Planet Green" channel, and boy am I glad that I didn't pay any money to see it!

The guy that's highlighted in this movie is a classic alarmist, and I guess he hasn't even found a way to make any money off of his claims, which is pretty sad all on it's own. After watching the entire movie, it's a wonder to me whether the movie's title is really about the subject matter that this alarmist was talking about or the alarmist himself.

I've seen this guy speak locally on local govt. access TV, and this is some of the nonsense that he spouts: -"more than half of the predictions that he made in this movie have come true, and they will all come true eventually"

-"economic growth is NOT possible with out oil, and there is NO substitutes or replacements for oil"...which is not true at all!

-"around 1890 or so, oil started to be used and the human population soared to 7 billion, and those 5+ billion people ONLY exist because of oil"

-"there are 10 calories of hydrocarbon energy (from oil & natural gas primarily) in every 1 calorie of food consumed in the industrialized world today"

-"it take 30 years to change an energy infrastructure"

-"Peak Oil arrived at the end of 2005"...which is not true.

-he's had no income for about a year

-"human industrial civilization is collapsing, period, and it cannot be reversed"

-"he is right about 80% of the time", and "he's been 'right' for two decades" now

-"the FDIC is insolvent"...which it isn't!

-"Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac are getting ready to ask for another $150 billion"

-"the U.S. govt. is a 'servant' of the Federal Reserve system, specifically the Federal Reserve Bank of NY"

-he's against fiat currency & fractional reserve banking...even though he clearly doesn't understand either concept!

-"there will be another round of bailouts very soon" in the USA

-"methanol is a net energy loser"

-Saudi Arabia has 25% of the known oil on the planet, and they have passed Peak Oil as well"...which really isn't true as no one knows how much oil Saudi Arabia (or any of the OPEC nations) really has!

-big states (like CA, OH, MI) will start to not pay into their state pension plans by the end of this year

-the Federal Reserve can't "print any more money" (something that his buddy Ron Paul keeps saying)...the Fed doesn't print any money, the U.S. Treasury does!

-we will "see $2000 gold by the end of this year", but he "doesn't advocate buying gold" anymore...sure, sure!

-oil will spike "to $100/barrel within the next couple of months"

-Wall Street is betting against states & local governments through CDOs

-"the 'cliff event' will come no later than the summer of 2010"

-he fully endorses state secessionist movements as he says that states will secede "whether they want to or not"

-he can't pay his own rent in Venice, CA, and he hasn't seen any money from this movie & his speaking engagements yet

-Greece, Romania, Thailand, Spain, Italy, Portugal, the UK, Japan are all going to "go down" soon

-the CIA has been smuggling & dealing drugs since 1979...which is the REAL REASON why he became famous across the U.S. in the first place!

-there aren't enough U.S. troops in the USA to enforce martial law but "not everyone should own a gun", and the major West coast ports will be protected by the military

-CA may "split into 3-4 states eventually"

-"we are reverting to a feudal society", and "in a short period of time, living conditions will be back to Victorian society"

-he's no longer in favor of building nuclear power plants, and he thinks that "we're long past Peak Uranium"...which isn't true at all!

-he thinks that the "govt. should get out of the way & let us save ourselves"

-he thinks that state governments "should disengage from the federal govt."

-he's "never owned a house in his entire life"

-he thinks that "the faster the system goes down, the better"

Ugh...Peak Oil is real...nothing can change that in my's simple math, but this guy is basically a wacko & a fear-monger IMHO. We broke through the Malthusian Cycle with the Industrial Revolution.

Don't bother watching this movie, even if the viewing is for free!
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Separating the movie from it's subject matter
da_lowdown5 February 2011
I've read several reviews that can't seem to separate the movie itself, from the film's subject. Here's my approach: I ask myself if the film moved me either emotionally or intellectually. If so, why? Then I write about that. In other words, I write about how the film approached the subject. Did it have narrative momentum? Was it modulated, or did it remain at the same annoying pitch throughout? Afterwards, if necessary, I write about my disdain, or admiration of the subject and his opinions. That's my approache to movies like this one.

Some complain about the lack of a counterpoint in this documentary. Well ... guess what ... a documentary's primary purpose is to document (hence the name ' documentary' ). It's not the film's job to always provide a counterpoint, it's the viewers job. Sorry to digress so early in my review. Anyway, to avoid creating any confusion about how I felt about this film, I'll separate my feelings on the movie, and it's subject.


If you like Errol Morris movies, you'll probably like this one. It's style is reminiscent to " The Fog of War". It has great narrative momentum. The camera and graphics keep the subject, Michael Ruppert take on Peak Oil, front and center. The editing keeps Rupperts monologue developing at a pace that wraps you into it's near paranoia. At one point in this movie, I started to think, "Holy sh_t! We're all screwed!!!" . This movie got me to thinking about how deeply dependent we are on oil. The steak I had for dinner, the car that takes me to work, the computer I'm writing this review on, all brought to you, courtesy of that thick black gooey stuff that comes out of the ground. As the movie points out, plausibly, oil does not have to run out (hell, there's plenty down there) it simply has to become harder to get to, to start jacking up prices uncontrollably, thus making life tougher for everyone. The film listens patiently, and carefully to an apparently sincere and lonely man crying that the "sky is falling" while we all continue about our business. The underlying tone is urgent, and hopeless. In the end, I felt uneasy.


I'll come right out and say it, I think Mr. Ruppert is looking at the worst case scenario only, and nothing else. Yes, the way he says this whole situation will unravel sounds plausible. However, when you pick it apart, there are too many variable he dismisses too easily (e.g. evolving energy innovations). But before we dismiss everything he says too quickly, remember that he along with a handful of others correctly predicted the current global economic crisis. Many of the people that now ridicule him on his peak oil theory, also "poo-pooed" him back then. Then look what happened. On the other hand, Ruppert predicted a global depression. It didn't happen (at least not yet). The worst case scenario did not play out. Perhaps he's pointing in the right direction with peak oil, but overstating it's severity because he has such a dim view of human nature? Geez, I certainly hope so. Otherwise, we really are screwed. Watch this movie with an open mind, but don't be afraid to seek out counterpoints afterward.

Regardless of your opinion on the subject of peak oil, you should see this movie. IT might scare you, it might anger you. It will move you, as art should do.
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Prophetic and Utterly Chilling
benmcfee21 November 2009
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.
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Changes the way you look at things
shanekadlecik11 March 2019
Great documentary that covers an extremely important topic with a very interesting man. A must watch documentary. There are some odd dolly shots in the film that clearly telegraph their back and forth movements.
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A dose of nasty tasting medicine
blackledgec3 October 2010
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.
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Tremendously Boring
nephilistpost10 April 2011
If you have had your head stuck in the sand for the last 30 years and know nothing about how the world works then this may be a good 'starter' documentary for you.

If on the other hand you know the essentials of how the world's economy works and what is going to happen as oil runs out then you are going to have a hard job keeping your eyes open.

This documentary is primarily one man being interviewed in a depressing room about a morbid subject. Yes, we know how dependent the world is on oil and the crisis the world is going to face as it runs out but Michael Rupert manages to drag the obvious into a pit of misery.

What Michael offers in this film is despair and an almost religious 'the end is nigh' view on life. Perhaps someone who has had his heart broken by witnessing as much corruption as this man is not the right person to send out messages to the world as I would worry for those watching it who are more easily influenced by dark rooms, scary messages and haunting music.

I don't disagree with the content, just the manner in which it is put across and the affect it may have on the gullible. The subject matter has been conveyed in a far more subjective manner by many others but if you enjoy a creepy side to your documentaries and are not trying to quit smoking right now then this might be the film for you.
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Very nice documentary
dugsite16 December 2009
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.
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Ruppert will save us
grayzie511 February 2012
This film is a mixture of dubious links, interesting tidbits, important truths, questionable claims and statements of the obvious.

It's an interesting watch, even if you might be sceptical of the broader predictions of Ruppert's, and I certainly am. He seems to sway from interesting observation to a need to tie them all together into one centralised conspiracy. I'm not sure it's quite as simple as he paints it. Nevertheless I enjoyed the film.

But I gave this film a 3 out of 10 anyway, because the style of this documentary is a complete rip of Errol Morris. Not influenced by. Not a nod to. A direct copy of the unique style of Morris, down to the music, the late cuts...everything.

But Morris' films aren't just interesting for their style. They're interesting because he chooses fascinatingly nuanced and complex personalities who speak honestly about their subject matter.

Ruppert just sounds like a guy who's a little too convinced he has it all figured out, and what's everyone to seek guidance from him as to what we should do next.
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