Collapse - On DemandDecember 04, 2009

FilmBuff

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COLLAPSE (82 min)
On Demand Weekly reviews films from the perspective of watching it On Demand in your home. I particularly believe this to be an asset in the case of Chris Smith’s (American Movie) new documentary Collapse. I know I can get distracted by the previews ahead of a film in a theatre to the point I briefly forget what I paid to see right before it begins. I’m glad I didn’t see a trailer to a holiday film or romance prior to the documentary’s subject, Michael Ruppert, settling into his seat. A no frills opening that subliminally suggests you buckle up for the next 82 minutes.

Collapse plays out like a mix between Errol Morris’ The Fog of War featuring Robert McNamara and Russell Crowe’s 60 Minutes reenactment from The Insider. In fact, I can already imagine a Recommendation Engine displaying: if you like Fog of War, try Collapse. Alas, with some major differences. Robert McNamara and Jeffrey Wigand (Russell Crowe) reflected about the past. What makes Collapse terrifying is that for many, Michael Ruppert is a new, contemporary voice talking about how our future will be affected. I can only imagine a very unsettled audience, shifting around uncomfortably. Popcorn anyone?

No one should be comfortable in watching this film. Even Ruppert isn’t. Although he is a willing participant, the backdrop to the film feels very much like an interrogation room. It looks like he’s been locked up so he can’t get out. Or perhaps, it could be his own choice so he will be left alone. One wonders what authority would be trying to get information from Ruppert. Certainly not the government or the oil industry. “Peak Oil” is the delicate topic of Collapse. If our society and its wealth is based on oil products, what will become of us if the reserves are below their apex? Our own demise? A sobering thought.

So who is Michael Ruppert? He’s a former Los Angeles police officer turned radical proclaimer. His POV is one track with little grey area. His severe tone and picture of an apocalyptic future makes Al Gore look cheery. But is his rapid fire delivery one of a loner’s conspiracy or of truth? It’s up to each viewer to decide what they want to believe. If nothing else, Collapse is an eye opening film that will rattle your beliefs of what a society’s structure is based on.

A topic as large as the plight of world civilization needs many voices and many forums. Here is just one. It may not be popular with all, but perhaps the way Michael Ruppert speaks and the way Chris Smith’s film presents him will enact further discussion. And maybe, just maybe lead to the search of the elusive 100th monkey Michael Ruppert is looking for to listen to his warnings and possibly right this planet from harm.

- Fouts McCovey

 

 

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