Environmental documentary 11th HOUR resides at the polar opposite of escapist summer fare its mission to firmly confront viewers about the indelible human footprint that humans have left on this planet and the catastrophic effects of environmental neglect and abuse. Produced and narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio and ably directed by Nadia Conners and Leila Conners Peterson the documentary doesn’t get much fancier than talking heads news footage and the occasional animated illustration but its message is potent and delivered effectively.The first hour of the film is essentially a horror story recounting the myriad sins perpetrated against the environment (pollution deforestation over-mining resources) the reasons behind it (corporate greed faulty public policy bad leadership ignorance) and what it means for the human race. Thankfully the last third of the movie tilts the mood upward with a spirited discussion of solutions offered by a crack team of scientists designers and thinkers. Stirring visions of alternate energy sources diversified transportation enlightened governmental agendas sustainable homes and cities and most importantly more conscious consumer choices leave viewers with the palpable feeling that change is both necessary and possible. If the “eleventh hour” for our planet is drawing near this admirable film points confidently towards a new dawn.
The 11th Hour focuses on problems, causes and results of mans known and unwitting destruction of this planets eco systems. In 92 minutes the viewer is transcended through the wonders of the world, reactions to the threat of our destruction and religious perspective of our treatment of the ‘Creation.’
Opinions, views and concerns of many of the world’s leading scientist, politicians, theologians and academia bring an awareness of the problem, its cause, who can bring change and who will pay the ultimate price if action is denied; the answer, of course, is us.
From the beginning, the 11th Hour takes hold of your undivided attention through a collage of current and historical footage revealing mankind’s sustained ruin of the planet. The viewer senses the urgency of Mother Nature’s plea for us, as intelligent beings, to act, and act soon for it truly is the 11th hour.
I purposely avoided labeling this work a documentary because I didn’t feel it as such. The 11th Hour is a fine film which portrays our future destiny, saved or destroyed, while avoiding the usual, mundane soothsayer approach. Whatever the category this work is defined as, I salute producer/narrator Leonardo DiCaprio for a job well done.
A must see for anyone who shares life on this place we call home… this earth.
Review by Henry P. Gravelle