A documentary by Chris Smith. Unrated. Plays Tuesday, November 17, and Friday to Monday, November 20 to 23, at the Vancity Theatre
Once you pull yourself out of a fetal ball, you can start to think about the documentary Collapse in more objective terms. But while you’re watching doomsayer Michael Ruppert chart our impending oil crisis and economic apocalypse, his arguments will shake you to the core. He makes An Inconvenient Truth’s Al Gore look like he’s leading a pep rally.
Watch the trailer for Collapse.
Borrowing heavily from the style of documentary master Errol Morris, American Movie’s Chris Smith shoots the chain-smoking, baggy-eyed Ruppert in what looks like a darkened underground bunker. Cutting between his meticulous arguments and archival footage, and driven by a relentless Philip Glass–like score, Collapse takes on the same grave power of Fog of War or The Thin Blue Line.
What makes the From the Wilderness newsletter publisher and author so persuasive is his ability to join so many of the dots in our chaotic world. It goes like this: oil is a finite resource that we depend on not only for fuel but for our food, our infrastructure, and our electricity. When it disappears, society will collapse. And the economic meltdown Ruppert predicted four years ago is just a marker of our inescapable fate. Talking about it, he chokes up.
Let’s face it: in these tough times, his theories feed our collective sense of panic. That doesn’t mean he’s not right. But because of Smith’s intensely claustrophobic, single-minded style, it’s hard to keep your skeptic’s hat on. Smith makes some meek attempts to question Ruppert on his credentials, but Collapse ultimately holds even more fascination when you look at it as a profile of a tormented man. What emerges is an ex-cop haunted by a 30-year-old dustup with the CIA—a loner who’s broke and owes rent. The film’s title could easily refer to one guy’s demise.
Still, you’ll probably want to stock up on canned goods, water, and bricks of gold anyway.