An Inconvenient Sequel review: Al Gore opens up the climate change debate once again and reflects on the what’s happened since the debut of his Oscar-winning first feature from eleven years ago.
An Inconvenient Sequel review by Paul Heath at the 2017 Festival de Cannes.
Ten years ago, Davis Guggenheim brought a film to screens that opened many people’s eyes to the dangers and incoming threat of climate change. An Inconvenient Truth went on to score an Oscar and multiple other awards around the world with Al Gore‘s economic slideshow being adapted into a screenplay by the former vice president to huge international acclaim – it also made a decent dime – a reported $50 million in box-office receipts.
Ten years on we have An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power, again guided by Gore, though directed this time by Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk. The feature, filmed between 2015 and late 2016 is more of a reflective piece obviously looking at what has happened since the release of the last film. Gore is pictured constantly on-screen, recapping on the first, but also adding plenty for this equally informative and striking ‘sequel’. We follow Gore on various trips to deliver his famous slideshow around the world (yes, he’s still doing it), educating thousands on the continuing dangers of climate change. Inserted into the show are obvious new findings, including the flooding in Miami Beach and at the site of the World Trade Center in Manhattan by Super Storm Sandy. There are also new facts, including one that informs us that 14 of Earth’s 15 hottest years in recorded history have been since 2001.
Of course, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power is here to batter home the facts perhaps to a generation of cinema-goers that didn’t manage to catch the first film, but there is also a kind of narrative to the feature – a series of events leading up to the landmark agreements at the 2015 COP21 economic summit in Paris where an international crisis is averted where India was apparently looking to to build hundreds of new coal-fired power plants, something which would have needlessly counter-acted work done elsewhere to reduce carbon emissions. Gore is seen on the phone throughout, contacting friends including Elon Musk, and at the Californian energy company SolarCity, pleading with them to give away solar powers as a possible alternative. There’s also a wonderful scene towards the end where Gore is seen visiting the ‘reddest’ town in deepest Texas, one very much in the Trump heartland – a ‘Make America Great Again Banner’ is our introduction to the segment – which the mayor informs us is running on 90% renewable energy, not because of any political stand-point, purely because it’s the right thing to do.
It’s all riveting and educational stuff of course, as is the substantial kick in the nuts that is delivered in the epilogue, a devastated though very much unrelenting Gore seen sat at in his office pondering over the rulings of a new government.
I’m not sure how much An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power fits as a cinematic experience ,particularly in a Netflix world, but the film does indeed have oodles of style and production values to warrant a multiplex existence. As an educational tool it’s just as impactful as the first film and one doesn’t mind the obvious call to arms posted that appears on the film’s final title card. After the closing scenes we felt compelled to load the web address into our mobile browsers immediately after leaving the auditorium and sign up – which is obviously the point. Truly inspiring stuff.
An Inconvenient Sequel review by Paul Heath, May 2017.
An Inconvenient Sequel will arrive in UK cinemas on August 25th 2017.