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  Publicity Stills of "The 11th Hour"
(Courtesy from Warner Bros)

Director: Leila Conners Petersen and Nadia Conners
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio (narrator)
RunTime: 1 hr 35 mins
Released By: Warner Bros
Rating: PG

Official Website: www.11thhourfilm.com

Opening Day: 1 November 2007


The 11th Hour describes the last moment when change is possible. The film explores how humanity has arrived at this moment – how we live, how we impact the earth’s ecosystems, and what we can do to change our course. The film features dialogues with experts from all over the world, including former Soviet Prime Minister Mikhail Gorbachev, renowned scientist Stephen Hawking, former head of the CIA R. James Woolsey and sustainable design experts William McDonough and Bruce Mau in addition to over 50 leading scientists, thinkers and leaders who present the facts and discuss the most important issues that face our planet.

Movie Review:

There is a poignant interview segment in this documentary which made me re-think about how I’ve been leading my life: The interviewee talks about how we have been waking up every day, worrying about going to work, worrying about our career prospects, worrying about our houses and other material needs.

What about quality living and discovering the true meaning of our existence with Mother Nature? Especially at the worrying rate we are destroying the planet we live in?

You must have heard this countless times – If we don’t start conserving energy and taking care of Earth, we are only accelerating our own destruction. And here it is, Leonardo DiCaprio does an Al Gore to produce and narrate this timely documentary about how we have neglected and abused our planet, and what we can do to halt this irresponsible act.

Comparisons to Davis Guggenheim’s Oscar winner An Inconvenient Truth (2006) will be inevitable. While the environmentalist vehicle for Gore was personal and accessible, this latest conservation documentary to hit the big screen presents you with lots of scientific factual information, news archival footage and many, many, many (and we really mean it) talking heads.

Kenny Ausubel, Michel Gelobter, Thom Hartmann, Paul Hawken, William McDonough – do any of these names ring a bell? Featuring over 50 interviewees who represent the frontline of environmental conservation, this 95-minute picture is a no-nonsense presentation of what horrifying things can happen to us if we don’t take care of the planet we live in. The well-researched documentary does not only terrify you with the dire consequences, it offers practical solutions and ideas on how we can better take care of our planet Earth.

So how is this watching this documentary in the cinemas different from reading up thick textbooks and opinion articles in newspapers?

Well, DiCaprio’s sincerity is definitely one factor that makes this picture more engaging than it sounds. And as you are drawn into the terrible things we have been doing to Earth (and ultimately, ourselves), you’d be following the interviewees’ responses and comments on how there is an urgent need to turn back at the titular 11th hour (to make things sound really pressing, it’s “the 11th hour, 59th minute and 59th second).

Maybe it’s the power of propaganda in films, maybe it’s the powerful archival images in nature-related documentaries, or maybe it’s pure guilt that I’m totally convinced that we should be concerned about the issue of global warming. But hopefully, by the time you walk out of the theatre, you’d realize that the problem is not as simple as the term “global warming”, it’s the whole culture of how humans have been thinking all these centuries.

And it’s time to make changes.

Movie Rating:

(The honest and well-explored documentary reminds us that human and nature have always been a part, not apart)

Review by John Li

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