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Does DiCaprio’s 11th Hour Deliver?

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The current article you are reading does not reflect the views of the current editors and contributors of the new Ecorazzi


Between now and when the movie opens, we’ll be showcasing reviews from contributors who have seen Leonardo DiCaprio’s 11th hour at various screenings. The first one comes to us from the beautiful and talented, Margaret Teich — Producer for The Lazy Environmentalist Show on Sirius Satellite Radio.

I just had the fortune of catching a pre-screening of a latest global warming documentary, The 11th Hour. While the film is just the beginning of a bigger campaign to follow, the website 11thhourfilm.com will be used as a hub of information for individuals and communities to take action and share information on solutions. And if the term “11th hour” refers to the last moment when change is possible, this is a film that successfully urges viewers to make the change.

The 11th hour is worth seeing for a few reasons. The scenery in the film is astounding; like watching a dramatic natural screen saver, but on a big screen. And any post-Rachel Carson environmental science student will be impressed with the people who are interviewed. I was literally watching the founding scientists, professors, activists and visionaries straight from the pages of my 12th grade AP Environmental Science class textbook talking (albeit more interesting than I remember) about the past, present, and future of mankind’s impact on earth’s biomes and climate. Whereas the green-go getters of today are continuing to shape the environmental movement, the experts interviewed in the film are our original climate change teachers and therefore the best suited to tell this complex and difficult story.

This film’s co-director and narrator is none other than that green hunk of man himself, Leonardo DiCaprio. The 11th Hour is co-produced with Warner Independent and Birken Studios, which is Leo’s own production company (whose small staff includes mother Irmalin DiCaprio). Using more stock footage than any other documentary in history, 11th Hour reveals magnificent images of earth’s spectacular biomes contrasted with scenes of increasingly common natural disasters and weather related devastation. The only new footage actually shot in film is of Leo narrating and the interviews with his eco-all star line-up, of which this film should be most proud. At a Bioneers conference last year, hundreds of hours were taped with the most influential environmentalists of our time. These experts ranging from Paul Hawken and Bill McDonough to Mikhail Gorbachev and Stephen Hawking, speak to the challenges that emerged from rapid, unchecked industrialization in the last century and the grim future we face if drastic changes aren’t immediately made.

What keeps this from being another “we’re all going to die” doom and gloom environmental flick is that co-filmmakers Nadia Conners and Leila Conners Petersen make sure the viewers understand that the solutions do exist and that the technological innovation is here. All we need, the film points out, is the will of the people and the political leadership to create real legislation. Now add to this the dash of debonair the film’s narrator provides, I think the will of the people isn’t far behind.

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