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The Independent Critic

Leonardo DiCaprio, Stephen Hawking, Mikhail Gorbachev
Nadia Conners, Leila Conners Petersen
Nadia Conners, Leila Conners Petersen, Leonardo DiCaprio
Rated PG
95 Mins.
Warner Brothers
 "11th Hour" Review 
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Leo, you're going to hate this statement.

Are you sitting down?

Yes, Leo, this statement is directly to you.

"11th Hour" is the George W. Bush of environmental documentaries.


Sigh. There's another movie poster that won't bother to quote me.

The problem with "11th Hour" isn't so much the message, which is darn near that of Al Gore's Oscar-winning "An Inconvenient Truth" in saying that humanity's rapidly destroying the environment and (drumroll, please) we're in the 11th hour and better do something about it now, otherwise, it'll be humanity that gets destroyed and not the planet.

Of course, I've never understood the whole "11th hour" phrase anyway...I mean, aren't there 24-hours in a day? So, like, we're not even halfway through the day and it's time for humanity to panic?

Okay. Okay. I digress.

Unfortunately, between Leo's melodramatic attempts at seriousness and directors Leila Conners Petersen and Nadia Conners' stylized manipulation of photography and imagery to make their points, "11th Hour" ends up looking like one of George W. Bush's scare tactic propaganda films...only this time WE'RE the evildoers.

Now, then. I can openly admit being completely and utterly appalled that the Academy would even nominate "An Inconvenient Truth," let alone the overrated, mind-numbingly monotonous film would actually win the golden statuette. However, any notion that the film simply needed to be spiced up a bit is quickly shattered by this spiced up version featuring beautiful photography, Leonardo DiCaprio and enough melodrama to bring tears of joy to the face of Michael Moore.

The problem with "11th Hour" isn't the message, per se, but the idea that we're just supposed to accept these "facts" at face value.

Remember when George W. Bush swore up and down that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction? He ranted, raved, cajoled and otherwise manipulated the black & white facts with his own verbal histrionics to such a point that the vast majority of the American public believed his downright lies.

While Conners, Conners Petersen and DiCaprio may very well be telling us the truth, they seem to be operating under such strong convictions that they have no need to explain themselves. In "An Inconvenient Truth," at least Al Gore had the decency to pull out pie charts, expert opinions and research studies. In "11th Hour," we seem to primarily get catastrophic image after catastrophic image blended together to drive home the message.

In other words, at some point "11th Hour" needed to step down off the soapbox and actually say something..."11th Hour" needed to quit shouting slogans, and start explaining causes and solutions with at least a little bit of authority.

Okay. Okay. I'm off my soapbox now.

"11th Hour" is a missed opportunity to utilize the fervent support of one of Hollywood's true environment advocates. Instead of posing Leo in melodramatic settings that served primarily to up HIS importance rather than the importance of his message, why didn't the filmmakers have him more humbly connect with those in the audience.

Instead of talking to the camera, Leo needed to truly talk 1:1 with each of us about this issue that is so obviously important to him.

WHY is this a disaster waiting to happen?

WHEN might it happen?

WHO is impacted by it and WHO is responsible for it?

WHAT can all of us do about it? ALL of us...Leo, me and you?

WHERE do we go after we buy into the pending humanitarian disaster waiting to happen?

Unfortunately, "11th Hour" fails to address any of these basic questions while maintaining itself as a more humanitarian perspective on these critical environmental issues.

We're in the "11th Hour" already, can't SOMEONE make a decent documentary about the environment?
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic