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The 11th Hour Print E-mail
Reviewed by Ceri Balston   
Wednesday, 07 November 2007
The 11th HourThe 11th Hour, a powerful documentary film narrated and produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, is a call to arms urging humanity to take action before it's too late. Our planet is facing the point of no return and this film describes how we got here and what we can do to change our course.

The film opens with a terrifying montage of scenes showing planet earth under dire stress. News reports from countless catastrophes such as drought, famine, flooding and hurricanes are interwoven with images of a human foetus safe and secure in its mother's womb, its heart beat uniting us all as it waits to enter into a very uncertain future.

The 11th Hour features dialogues from over 50 leading scientists, thinkers and leaders who present the facts and their own thoughts as to what's happening to our planet. It's a frightening catalogue of issues that embrace pollution, extinction of species as well the highly publicised issue of climate change to name but a few.

It is explained to us that the problems we face started with the industrial age when for the first time in its history humanity stopped living in harmony with nature but instead desired to conquer and control it. Frugality, a pre-industrial term meaning a wise use of resources, is all but forgotten in this age of over consumerism.

Some cynics may feel that Leonardo DiCaprio's involvement in The 11th Hour, as both narrator and producer, devalues the film and is perhaps a PR stunt in the greening of the 'Leo' brand, but his moments of screen time are kept to a minimum, he lets the experts do the talking. Personally I feel that if his name attracts a new audience that otherwise wouldn't have embraced the environmental challenge that we face then I'm all for it, I just hope they don't find his furrowed brow and stern delivery off putting and un-Leo-like.

One the aspects that I particularly enjoyed about The 11th Hour were the positive messages and practical advice we are given by the panel of experts, so it's not all doom and gloom. Apparently buildings, for example, account for about a third of all our energy use and if we were to all embrace technology that is currently available today we could reduce our footprint on the planet by 90%. It is not a case of waiting for the next miracle technology to save us, we can take action now.

I was also pleased to hear that Environmentalism, once just an interest for a passionate few, is now the fastest growing movement in the world, it's truly global and is touching and impacting on everyone's lives. We are in an environmental age, whether we like it or not.

It's hard not to compare The 11th Hour to An Inconvenient Truth, the first eco blockbuster film, but I'm going to have to. Whilst An Inconvenient Truth sometimes like feels like the manifesto of a sore loser, "Hey look what I would've done to the world if you'd elected me", The 11th Hour speaks with more credibility and authority and I found it easier to digest and more pertinent to me. So if I were to choose only one environmental movie to watch and recommend to others it would most definitely be this one.

The 11th Hour opens at Nu Metro cinema's countrywide on Friday 16th November. See below for trailer.

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