Protect This House

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power

by George Wolf

Plenty of movie sequels hit theaters every year, and plenty are unnecessary. Too bad this isn’t one of those.

If the Oscar-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth sounded a dire alarm over ten years ago, Truth to Power conveys how vital the climate change crisis still is, while channeling its most prominent spokesman to remain ever hopeful in the face of gut-wrenching setbacks.

Taking the reins from Davis Guggenheim, co-directors Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk (producer and director, respectively, of another stirring climate-based doc The Island President) shift the format to one less about filmed lecture and more focused on Al Gore’s daily commitment to the cause he has championed for over two decades.

We still see the charts, the data, and the photographic evidence, all never less than bracing and some frequently stupefying. But this time, we also see how vast the political and bureaucratic roadblocks have grown, as Gore laments the “democracy crisis” now looming large over any progress toward climate change reversal.

Are Cohen and Shenk preaching to the choir? Is their shared admiration for Gore constantly evident? Yes on both counts. But the sermon is damned persuasive and the man has earned it.

Gore’s commitment, often appearing both tireless and lonely, might be most evident while under pompous questioning by ardent climate change denier Jim Inhofe. Gore’s exasperated olive branch to Inhofe is both patient and sincere, revealing an eye for the long game he continues to fight.

And yet, even as the rise of Donald Trump threatens every inch of hard-won climate progress, Gore’s meeting with a staunchly conservative mayor shows common ground is still possible.

In what the mayor calls “the reddest city in the reddest county in the entire state of Texas,” they’ve made the switch to renewable energy because it not only makes economic sense, it makes common sense. Imagine that.

Supreme Court decisions have consequences, and while Truth to Power might make you hopeful for another presidential run from Gore, it never lets you forget he’s right where he needs to be.


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