An Inconvenient Truth <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar --> (U)

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The Independent Culture

In terms of the message it delivers and the political impact it has already had, Al Gore's apocalyptic environmental lecture is the most important film of the week, perhaps of the year. Marshalling an impressive array of images and statistics, he makes the case that human activity is producing global climate change more compelling than ever before: glaciers are melting faster than anybody feared, and concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are heading towards an unprecedented high. A shade less convincingly, the former next president of the United States puts the case for believing that it is not too late for political action to solve the problem. Gore has developed a nice line in sarcasm, undercutting his own reputation for starchiness and making climate-change-deniers look, well, careless. It's unnerving, at times inspiring, and, if you lack clarity on the issues, it is essential viewing. The experience is marred by passages of autobiography, overlaid with saccharine music, showing that far from bandwagon-jumping, Gore has been banging on about this issue for nearly 30 years; but they also feel uncannily like a piece of canny political repositioning, not unlike Michael Portillo's emergence as the cuddly face of Conservatism.

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