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An Inconvenient Sequel:

Truth To Power • Wind River

Augstu 24, 2017

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power (***) PG

Former Vice President Al Gore keeps soldiering on in his fight to stem the tide of global warming in the aptly titled film, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power. The film is, of course, a follow up to the similarly titled Oscar winning film, An Inconvenient Truth, from eleven (!) years ago and basically serves as an addendum to that earlier effort. Considering the alarming changes that have transpired since the release of the original picture I’d say that Gore and his filmmaking comrades are justified in their filmmaking endeavors.  Unfortunately, the prospects of convincing the still unconvinced are most likely very slim. They may be preaching to the choir, so to speak, but I, for one, applaud their attempt at getting an alarming and important message out there in the midst of fierce competition at the multiplexes.

As for the changes that have taken place in the last eleven years, many are illuminated by the vast amount of footage shot on actual locations where the results of climate change are being most profoundly felt.

Al Gore in Iceland

This film isn’t just a video presentation of Mr. Gore’s current series of lectures, although there is an element of that running throughout. The former Vice President and his crew travel to locations near and far, illustrating firsthand the alarming consequences of the depletion of our ozone layer.

Early in the film the crew travel to Greenland where Mr. Gore stands atop a large chunk of ice that, until recently, was in one large piece but now resembles a piece of Swiss cheese due to the melting of the ice caps. As the water runs through the middle of the ice the evaporation can be seen firsthand and it’s a scary sight to behold.

Later on in the film, while Mr. Gore is giving one of his slideshows in Miami, the film captures footage of Miami basically underwater. What’s disturbing about this is that the excess amounts of water and fish swimming in the streets isn’t a remnant of a storm but rather just the routine rising of the tide that occurs on a daily basis. Such is the nature of things these days and, according to the film, if drastic steps aren’t taken it’s only likely to get worse.

The film culminates with a section involving Mr. Gore’s attempts to stop a coal fired plant from being constructed in India and, instead, having them rethink their strategy. The former Vice President spends a good chunk of time attempting to convince them of the need to use renewable energy sources. I’ll leave it to you to discover if he succeeds in his endeavors but I suppose you might guess the outcome. It’s at moments like this that film manages to be hopeful in spite of such dire circumstances. It’s a message we could use more of these days.

This documentary is playing in Charlotte at press time.
    
Wind River (***)  R

Writer-director Taylor Sheridan, following hot on the heels of the commercial and critical success of his much-heralded directorial debut from last year, Hell or High Water, has returned with his follow up, Wind River. When one considers the crime angle that dominated both Hell or High Water and Sicario (he served as co screenwriter on that Oscar nominee), it’s no surprise that Sheridan would mine similar territory with his latest film.

And while it’s a worthy successor to his earlier efforts as a director/writer, it doesn’t quite pack the punch that either of those films seemed to have. That’s mostly due to the more relaxed pacing found in Wind River.

Sheridan is quickly establishing himself as a major behind the scenes talent and the fact that his new film isn’t quite up to the level of what’s come before isn’t going to dampen my enthusiasm for his next project one iota and it shouldn’t stop you from investigating his latest.   

Wind River is based on a true story. At least that’s what a title card tells us at the beginning of the film and who am I to argue?

Olsen & Renner in Wind River

Much like Sheridan’s Hell or High Water, Wind River attempts to inject some social commentary into the proceedings. Sheridan achieves that feat this time around by setting the film in a remote Native American reservation located in Wyoming. It’s there that the drudgery of daily life leads to boredom which, in turn, leads some of the residents to making really bad decisions mostly as a result of the lack of enough activities to occupy themselves.   

Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) is a divorced, single dad, earning his keep as a game tracker on the Native American reservation of the film’s title. His former wife, also a Native American, shares custody with their son. Cory is spending some time with his son when soon thereafter he stumbles upon the body of a dead girl. An FBI agent, Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) is called onto the scene but she’s had no experience dealing with this sort of thing. Cory becomes a sort of makeshift partner as they attempt to solve the mystery of the girl’s murder while Cory simultaneously attempts to heal from a tragedy in his past.

To say anything more would do the film a great disservice as there are a few nifty surprises, particularly in the film’s last act.    Wind River is a skillfully made film and no one can fault it in that department. What is a bit of a problem is the lack of a sense of urgency that was found in Sheridan’s earlier works. There’s good stuff here even if it falls a bit short of what you may be expecting.

Wind River opens Thursday, August 31, in Hickory and around the are.

Questions or comments? Write Adam at filmfan1970@hotmail.com.

 

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