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An Inconvenient Truth, By Davis Guggenheim

1146 words - 5 pages

The evidence that we have reached an ecological tipping point is incontrovertible. Davis Guggenheim’s An Inconvenient Truth presents the current situation of our environment, as well as its potential future, by utilizing footage from Al Gore’s traveling slideshow presentation interspersed with interviews of the man who “used to be the next president of the United States of America.” While Gore may give this self-description jokingly, this is undoubtedly a political film, not lacking political bias. At its core however, this is a film that addresses a lack of government honesty and responsibility. This is a film that forces the viewer to question why they have not been informed of carbon dioxide emissions before. While an abundance of scientific research is used to back the once controversial idea of global climate change, the film is also teeming with personal stories from Al Gore. Guggenheim uses Gore’s experiences to allegorize larger issues, as well as to make the former vice president relatable and credible. However, the use of a figure of Gore’s stature comes at a price: biased interviews and manifesting large scale environmental problems in the politician-turned-activists forces skeptics to associate an ominous, indiscriminate issue with Democrat Al Gore and the liberal agenda. Al Gore as An Inconvenient Truth’s spokesperson for global warming is, undoubtedly, a double-edged sword.
Throughout the film, Guggenheim develops the technique of using heavy ideas to evoke an emotional response. After Al Gore awkwardly dabbles in romanticism, describing the effect of standing in nature, the film essential begins with the former vice president bringing the attention of the audience to a pale, blue dot in a space probe image taken 4 billion miles away. This pixel, which is later revealed to be Earth, puts into perspective man’s true place in the universe, despite the delusion of self-importance. The idea that Earth, the only habitable location for humans, is worth preserving is further reinforced by a personal story of Gore’s. An emotional retelling of Al Gore’s son’s near-death experience after being run over by a car immediately draws the audience in. This is one of the many emotion-inducing images used throughout the film. This glimpse into one of the most painful moments of Gore’s personal life makes him relatable while also driving home the point that gratitude and obligation are often realized when faced with the possibility of loss.
Guggenheim makes his most poignant analogy between global climate change and Al Gore’s personal life with a story of the tobacco industry. As a tobacco grower, Gore’s father and many others continued to deny and ignore the scientific evidence regarding the dangers of tobacco, primarily because it would have affected their primary source of income. This changed, however, when Al’s older sister, Nancy, died from lung cancer. As Gore states, it is very clear that sometimes it takes too long to “connect the...

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