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Film Review: Collapse

October 21, 2011

Collapse is one of the most riveting films I have ever watched. The entire documentary consists solely of an interview with Michael Ruppert, an ex-police officer turned investigative journalist and government whistle-blower. Ruppert himself is an intriguing and complex character, perhaps filled with bitterness and resentment towards the institutions that he once served and have subsequently failed and attempted to discredit him.

However, the issues which he chooses to raise are entirely distinct from any personal vendettas that he may or may not harbour. The story behind the documentary is fascinating in itself. When the producers and camera crew met Ruppert, they intended to discuss a drug-smuggling conspiracy involving the C.I.A., but in truth he had very little interest in addressing that issue. Instead, Ruppert began to discuss his thesis that as a race, humanity is failing to sustain itself, failing to protect the planet and is ultimately headed towards an inevitable ‘collapse’.

Immediately the film becomes a stimulating and engrossing affair that bombards the viewer with an immensely complex subject matter, and ventures into the realm of the conspiracy theory. In fact the trailer for the film asks whether Ruppert is a prophet or crackpot, but this is a slightly misleading angle to approach the film from.

Admittedly it is virtually impossible to watch Collapse without asking such questions of Ruppert, but what becomes apparent as you listen to his musings on the global economy, environmental sustainability, political corruption and the world’s impending oil crisis is that there is some undeniable truth in what he says. Every point he makes on these issues is supported with solid evidence and, as Ruppert invites the viewer to examine his ideas from a logical perspective, the documentary becomes both ominous and harrowing. Ruppert illustrates his argument in an incredibly engaging manner, pulling the viewer in and leaving no stone unturned.

The critique that he offers on the global systems of economics and politics are particularly resonant today and, when one regards his previous predictions on such developments as the global economic crisis, Ruppert becomes an altogether more credible speaker on the issues which face us all. The most troubling aspect of the film though, is the lack of hope which it offers humanity in righting the wrongs that have lead us down this path. Ruppert offers no simple solution. At least not for us all as a global community. Only the individual, he suggests, can make a real change to the destiny of humanity and the planet. The quite brilliant ‘one-hundredth monkey’ analogy that Ruppert offers when explaining what is needed for the change in mentality and actions amongst the people of the world is almost worth the price of the DVD alone.

The documentary though is not simply a doomsday prophecy, it is simultaneously a fascinating character study and an insightful and informative examination of the problems that face humanity in the 21st Century. It may sound cliché, but this film will genuinely change the way you view the world. By the time the credits roll it is entirely possible that you think Ruppert is an acrimonious conspiracy theorist, but what you will not be able to ignore is the message that he has delivered and the immutable truths inherent within it.

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