Leonardo DiCaprio’s "The 11th Hour", opening this week in Los Angeles and New York, does not paint a pretty picture. The feature length documentary doesn’t want you to be able to hide from the environmental crises caused by human actions, so it splashes them across the screen with dramatic footage you won’t easily forget. Hurricanes. Melting polar ice caps. Pipes discharging sewage and toxic waste into waterways with sickening speed. Thousands of environmental refugees packed into decrepit shanty towns that look like garbage dumps. DiCaprio’s film tries hard to drive home its point that we – and the planet – face our “11th hour,” our last chance to fix the problems we’ve caused – or humanity is doomed. By and large, it succeeds.
Unlike Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” “The 11th Hour” does not use slick powerpoint presentations, charts, and graphs to make its case. DiCaprio lets the footage of an earth under siege tell its own story, punctuated by commentary from fifty prominent eco thinkers and activists, including Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai. Says DiCaprio, “We face a convergence of crises…” and he wants to ensure his audience knows what those crises are.
It’s a dark, disturbing message, and would make for an unbearable film, if DiCaprio didn’t also extend some rays of hope to his audience. The film concludes with insights into new technologies that can help communities build a sustainable future, from “smart” cars to “green” roofs. “The time is now. The hope is you,” encourages DiCaprio through the film’s website, www.11thhouraction.com “Let’s begin.”
To preview the film and find out when it will be shown in your area, visit www.11thhourfilm.com.