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Age of Stupid, The


Stars: Pete Postlethwaite

Director: Franny Armstrong

A quite smartly-made, deeply-felt documentary on global warming, fairly informative but not all that persuasive, especially in its view that the world will have come to an end by 2055, with only a massive archive tower, kept by a cantankerous curator (Postlethwaite), left to store the 'achievements' of civilisation.

It seems that our obsession with oil is at the root of things, and the film isn't slow to point up the atrrocities perpetrated in the search for the precious liquid. But you wonder what President Obama would make of the assertion that 'the oil business isn't just in bed with the government - it is the government.'

The film's remit expands to include running pieces on a survivor of Hurricane Katrina, and the flight of Iraqi children trying to escape to Jordan. But its focus gets confused in the middle section, until you puzzle as to what its exact target is.

The spotlight also falls on a Cornish couple who erect wind turbines. Alas, they come across as eccentrics rather than activists, and one isn't surprised that their plans are constantly frustrated, although the statistic that 80 per cent of wind farm applications have been turned down - projects that would have provided 10 per cent of our electricity - is fascinating, as are indeed many of the details on display here.

Hopefully, greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced in the future, but this stylish film is unlikely to be the smoking gun, any more than it will convert too many sceptics to its cause.

David Quinlan

UK 2008. UK Distributor: Dogwoof (Spanner Films). Colour/black and white.
89 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 14 Mar 2009