An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power is Al Gore’s state of the union address, an important document of change and time. In fact, the notion of time healing everything and making us realize our mistakes is a key theme in this film, and makes it a more powerful outing than Davis Guggenheim’s 2006 original, if, maybe, not as groundbreaking, considering that doc brought global warming to the forefront of the mainstream and changed the political landscape in terms of environmental thinking.
If An Inconvenient Truth felt like a high school lecture/power point presentation, and I’m not stretching it a bit here considering it’s one of the most watched films in high schools nationwide, this sequel is more in the style of cinema verite and has Gore in a rather passionate and angry mood throughout its 100 minute running time. We first see the former Vice President as he treks around the world, teaching thousands of his program trainees about the environmental crisis. Going to the far reaches of the Earth, he ends up in places that have been affected by the climate changes.
In a rather touching scen,e he consoles Philippine trainees as they try to deal with the devastating 2013 Typhoon that ravaged their country, killing thousands. The natural disasters are clearly not reserved just for the outside world, though. Gore visits New Orleans post-Katrina, and goes to Florida where streets were flooded, fish were seen swimming, and the conservative governor of the state refused to admit it was due to climate change even though there was overwhelming scientific proof to the contrary.
The high point of the film comes when Gore manoeuvres chaotically/strategically to get India, the only holdout, onboard with the historic 2016 Paris agreement. The Paris conference is, at first, delayed because of the terrorist attacks that ravaged the Bataclan. This puts the film’s environmental themes on pause for a few minutes to deal with the magnitude of the tragedy, which ends up delaying the conference by three weeks.
When The Paris conference does happen, it turns out to be the piece de resistance of this sequel, as Cohen and Cheng get behind-closed doors footage of politicians wheeling and dealing their way to a historic agreement. It’s a landmark of political unison that will be remembered in time as a crucial moment in our history.
That is what the difference is between the original and Truth to Power. If the original was a cry for help and and for the world community to come together and fight climate change, this outing film has a sense of hope, that, despite conservative leaders continuing to deny the science, it will all be okay because it’s been shown in history that human beings eventually learn from their mistakes and come together to fight a threat. It’s part of our natural instincts, a fight or flight response that has been ingrained in our DNA since our very beginnings.
This sense of hope is what makes Cohen and Chenk’s film work. One would expect a scathing and miserable document of where we’re headed and, at times, the directors do show us how troubled our planet is, but An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power shows what can happen when political leaders come together to better the planet and the world we live in. As Gore so eloquently stated, “this movie gives me an extra burst of hope because I think … We are going to win this.” Bolstered by his infectious charisma and unadorned passion for planet earth, this ends up being the most important movie we’ll likely see this year.
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power is an important and relevant worldwide look at the environmental crisis.