New challenges – and a science-dismissing US President – make Gore’s sequel to his 2006 film feel both cinematic and compelling
August 16, 2017 — Eleven record-breaking summers on from An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore doubles down. Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk’s galvanizing documentary accompanies the former US vice-president throughout 2015 and 2016, by which point he had pivoted from touring pro-bono slideshows to addressing the Climate Reality Leadership Corps programme initiated by the first movie’s success.
Cohen and Shenk don’t deviate radically from that film’s formula. Again, excerpts of Gore’s orations (manna for bar chart aficionados) are bolstered with visits to natural disaster sites (as Irwin Allen foresaw, extreme weather is inherently cinematic), while behind-the-scenes diversions find our host battling to discuss temperature hikes with an election-crazed media and an expert-intolerant public.
Other climates have changed, then, and the sequel benefits dramatically from its expanded sense of the challenges we face – everything from the needs of developing nations to terrorism. One under-discussed byproduct of climate change is an increasingly hot-headed world.
Candidate Trump looms, dismissing science as a wussy liberal fetish. An updated coda sees Gore abandoning his conciliatory rhetoric to swing for an individual currently undoing much of the hard diplomatic work observed herein. Railing against rising tides, Gore emerges as a cannier performer and a more compelling subject than he was in 2006; a message that sounded critical then has become no less urgent with time.