The Age Of Stupid (12A)

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The View Review

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Review byMatthew Turner18/03/2009

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 89 mins

Ambitious documentary that delivers a powerful message, though some segments are markedly less successful than others and parts of the film are occasionally confusing.

What's it all about?
Directed by Franny Armstrong, The Age of Stupid was initially modelled on Steven Soderbergh's Traffic, in that it aims to tell six different stories from various perspectives within the climate change debate. Pete Postlethwaite plays a grizzled archivist from 2055, where the Earth has been ravaged by rampant climate change, who reviews footage from 2008 and asks why we didn't stop climate change when we had the chance.

The stories that the archivists presents include: palaeontologist Alvin Duvernay, who helps Shell find oil off the coast of New Orleans and also helped with the Hurricane Katrina rescue operation; Jeh Wadia, an Indian businessman hoping to start up a low-cost airline; Layefa Malemi, a Nigerian girl who wants to be a doctor and has to fish in oil-infested waters to raise funds; 82-year-old mountain guide Fernand Pareau, who has watched his beloved Alpine glaciers melt away by 150 metres; 8-year-old Jamila Bayyoud, an Iraqi refugee whose home was destroyed during the US-led invasion in 2003; and Piers Guy, a Cornish wind farm developer whose eco-friendly plans hit a snag in the form of local protesters.

The Good
The film opens with an excellent montage sequence that illustrates the desolation (both real and projected) that has brought the world to ruin in 2055. However, it's fair to say that the subsequent stories are something of a mixed bag – Guy's story is heartbreaking and infuriating in equal measure (you'll want to punch the Tory git who leads the protest group), while Bayyoud's, for example, has a tenuous connection to climate change beyond a general oil is the root of all evil vibe.

The Bad
The film's biggest problem is that it occasionally rambles and loses focus, while there's also a palpable sense of preaching to the converted.

Worth seeing?
The Age of Stupid delivers a powerful message, even if it occasionally feels like you're being shouted at by an environmental activist.

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The Age Of Stupid (12A)
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Content updated: 26/09/2015 06:15

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