Customer Review

73 of 75 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mostly superb, 3 Oct 2009
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This review is from: The Age of Stupid [DVD] (DVD)
The Age of Stupid is a film about climate change, but it's not An Inconvenient Truth: Part Deux. Whereas the purpose of Al Gore's 2006 box office hit was to shake us from our slumber of self-comforting denial, Stupid is designed to take hold of our heads and smash our faces repeatedly into a table until we get up and do things differently.

It's indicative of how the debate has shifted over the last few years that Stupid does not spend time linking climate change with greenhouse gas emissions. The film states that less than 1% of climate scientists believe that there is any doubt about that link (even if this number rises to 60% when the general public are asked their opinion). The debate is over at long last, so the intention of Stupid is to use human stories to illustrate what a serious pickle our species has got itself into.

Stupid is mostly a documentary following the very different lives of six individuals and families around the world. The subjects include an oil geologist who lived in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit, attempting to deal with the devastation of losing everything he owned to a natural disaster that was probably worsened by the burning of oil that he discovered.

Stupid is immaculately produced, carefully involving the audience in the on screen emotions, from sharing the heartbreak of the elderly French mountain guide witnessing a glacier recede, to the frustrated anger of the environmentalist whose wind farm had been blocked by a local NIMBY campaign.

Linking the documentaries together is a series of animated fact files from Passion Pictures (famous for the Gorrilaz) and an innovative fictional subplot starring Pete Postlethwaite. Postlethwaite plays the role of an archivist in 2055, responsible for curating a climate-proof store of human culture, history and scientific discovery, as well as two pickled specimens of every creature on Earth. At this stage, the planet is all-but uninhabitable and the archivist creates the film as a warning for whichever civilisation finally inherits the Earth.

Stupid focuses on the idea that it was our behaviour in the years up to 2015 that caused unstoppable climate change, culminating in the near-extinction of life by the middle of the century. Postelthwaite's character struggles to comprehend quite why we did nothing to stop our own suicide even when we knew that we could.

So is it a good film? Yes, it's bordering on the brilliant. At times it made me laugh, at other times it filled me with tears, and at one point I literally swung my fist in anger at the Daily Mail worshipping, house price obsessed, anti-wind lobbyists. Stupid isn't perfect; I felt that a couple of the documentary subjects distracted from the main issue of climate change by focusing on the evils of Big Oil. However, I would still challenge anyone who sees this film to be left without a fire in their belly.

Sadly, The Age of Stupid has not been seen by many people. It is an independent film which was funded entirely by small contributions from public investors. As such, it hasn't had the benefit of large distribution networks. I shared the experience with 13 other people at the Panton St Odeon in London. Elsewhere, Horne and Corden's Lesbian Vampire Killers was probably playing to a full house. The Age of Stupid sounds like quite an apt title to me.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 6 Jun 2010 12:22:00 BDT
Savita says:
Very good review and I probably don't need to write one now but one point - you said, "I felt that a couple of the documentary subjects distracted from the main issue of climate change by focusing on the evils of Big Oil." The lady behind this film also made a documentary you may not have seen called "A Crude Awakening" that I strongly recommend as it gives you a lot of background to this film and you may see why that aspect was included in Stupid. In fact, when you think about it, how do you separate 'oil' and 'climate change'? They are part of the same thing and arguably, without oil there wouldn't be a problem at all.

Posted on 3 Oct 2010 14:45:10 BDT
Benito says:
Yes, depressing to think Lesbian Vampire Killers was seen by more people than saw this... yes we are doomed. Great film, nice review.

Posted on 15 Jan 2011 21:51:37 GMT
I think you'll find that most people who oppose wind farms are not 'nimbys' but environmentalists who understand that wind farms are a profit driven 'green' con and a distraction from the real issues. Out of control global population explosion; rampant industrialisation, economic growth over sustainable economies etc etc. Apart from producing piddling amounts of expensive electricity and pushing millions into fuel poverty.The only things wind farms will achieve will be massive profits for the energy corporations and ecological and aesthetic despoliation.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Feb 2011 16:21:04 GMT
Last edited by the author on 16 Feb 2011 16:31:58 GMT
Star Sailor says:
@ Mr Arthur Dooley
You are a moron. At the present. But take heart, you can evolve!
Have you ACTUALLY noticed the current "ecologival and aesthetic despoliation" caused by our current methods? Try forgetting the word green. Its an energy vs carbon thing. Sooner or later this equation will filter down into minds locked into deep ruts, and the NIMBYs of this world whatever they may be (but the phrase NIMBY does describe the public way of simply saying NO to any "alternative idea" put forward), will have to decide on some way to generate the power that we need. In ref. to the film review, in my mind this debate is over also. Our options are slim, the worst case scenario is defined (and approaching faster, on larger scales than even the scientists feared to state). It will involve changing our infrastructure. Whether our egos can tolerate that seems to be the first hurdle in many debates.

RE: AOS
I enjoyed the review, thanks for that. I'd forgotten how much the film hit me.
To anyone looking to discover, for themselves, beyond the green, red/white & blue wash of all the oft-used statistics and misconceptions of what IS and ISNT possible with renewable energy, current or future, try "Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air" written by a Cambridge Prof.
A very very very good tool for techies and newbies alike. It's on amazon, check it out (or download it for free, the author has made it available for free).

Posted on 28 Jul 2011 18:21:49 BDT
Tawnybright says:
Indicative of this disease we call money, running headlong into the furore, government committees refuting any evidence that oil, gas and petroleum industries around the world are harmfull, ultimately and probably very soon, we will all perish. The prognosis is not good
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