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The 11th Hour – review

I watched The 11th Hour sitting in a cinema in Dubai with about three or four other people, this film is obviously not going to be a big box office attraction in the Middle East, and its serious and unrelenting message makes this a difficult movie for most. Not a pop-corn movie.

The first thing that is obvious is that this is a movie which addresses an American audience, the references and the examples are primarily American.  There is no reference to Europe, or if there was I missed it. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but the audience needs to remember to put the statements into context. However, the United States is the world’s greatest polluter (but this is another record that China will in due course challenge), and the world’s greatest consumer of energy and resources per capita (the Gulf States excepted). If the world is to change it needs America on side, of that there is no doubt.

There are two primary elements to the movie, one is the collection of talking heads, and the second is the use of effective film clips of the environment, threats and the beauty of the Earth. The narration of Leonardo DiCaprio ties all this together effectively.  The talking heads are all well-known in their respective fields, a number of individuals are interviewed, and they include Paul Hawken, Andrew Weil, David Suzuki, Stephen Hawking, Joseph Tainter and Mikhail Gorbachev, but as I mentioned above the majority are American.  This is the world as seen from California.

I recommend that you look at the associated Website, the interviews are available on UTube and there are useful biographies of the interviewees.  The Website looks as if it is a long term venture with the intention of updating its content and encouraging public awareness and debate.  The Site has a blog and forums, action groups and encourages people to sign in to it.  I hope that this Site is maintained and that it becomes an important hub for the interchange of information.

I strongly recommend everyone to see this movie, it covers ground that many of us are well aware of, but we often forget that the majority of the world population are still unaware of the possible consequences of climate change and some of the interviewees talked about the real threat to the survival of humanity if we don’t react very quickly.  As one of the interviewees said the Earth will recover from humanity, humanity would be just another species that become extinct.  For some the real concern was that in causing the conditions that result in our own extinction that we cause many other species to also become extinct.

Let us hope that more than a handful of people see this film, both in the United States and around the world, it’s a useful tool to help make people more aware and it was interesting to see well-known authors being interviewed.  Do go and see it.


Just one point for the producers; we can no longer afford the luxury of nationalism, we can just humans, not Americans, nor French, nor Chinese; there will not be a lifeboat for any one nation, we are all in this together, sink or swim.  Please address humanity, not “The Nation”, (no, I don’t think they mean Belgium) as a caption on the Action Website does, but all.  And in our actions we need to also act as the guardians for all living entities on this planet.

Another minor point; I was unhappy that the Action Website mentioned the use of GM rice created by Arcadia Biosciences, without adding a caution that there may be risks associated with eating GM foods, one reason why the European Union bans most GM products.  I think that we have to take a holistic view to our problems, which are not only about climate change, but also how we live on this planet, everything is ultimately connected – for example one of the contributions we can make to climate change is to stop eating meat, as meat production is resource intensive.

  1. Initial releaseAugust 17, 2007 (USA)
  2. Running time95 minutes
  3. Initial DVD releaseApril 8, 2008


About Andrew Palmer (275 Articles)
Book by Andrew Palmer explores today's fundamental & systemic problems of the world. Proposes a framework for understanding the forces that are driving change.

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