Climate Hustle

Year 2016

Marc Morano   as  Narrator
Richard Tol as Somebody other than Marc Morano  
Director - Christopher Rogers
Screenwriters   - Mick Curran
  - Marc Morano

Your high school play served up a better thespian experience than Climate Hustle, so don't go into this thinking that the actors do a good job. If you watch it, go into it thinking that someone finally questioned the motives of the Chicken Little School of Climate Change. Most of the movie is spent debunking the claims of governments and government organizations that predict apocalypse as a result of mankind changing the climate. The remainder of the movie is spent giving plausible and implausible reasons why governments do this.

The movie was made on a budget and it shows. From the cardboard sets to the lack of money to hire a spokesmodel, the movie conveys shoestring conviction.

Here's one of the major problems with the movie. Most of the information presented is well known to people past the age of fifty, so there's nothing new here. People younger than that, the ones who might benefit from facts that they were unaware of, have the desire to see this. The movie ends up telling things to people that already know these things and in a very pedestrian way. When my daughter was eight, she put together a more compelling Power Point presentation than the imaginations of the people behind Climate Hustle could envision.

That's too bad. I mean Al Gore, with more fluff than substance, won a freaking Academy Award for An Inconvenient Truth. Al Gore wouldn't know a Truth if Cupid shot one into his heart.

Now I'm a firm believer that three minutes on a roller coaster can teach you more about gravity than an hour's lecture from a boring instructor. The makers of this movie forgot the entertainment factor.

When I walked in to the theater with a friend, there were about three dozen people already there. The crowd didn't grow appreciably from there. As the movie started, I looked at my sixty year old friend and said, "You're the youngest person here." Not that the crowd was timid, though. Every time a snippet of Al Gore speaking was used in the film, one of the women in the audience would yell, "Eff you, Gore," only she didn't just say eff. She said all of the letters in the word. When someone anti-Gore spoke, the whole audience would applaud. It was fun for that reason.

Either way, it's a problem that manages to rear it's head from time to time. It's especially bothersome to Barton when he decides not to shoot anyone during a hold-up and she's ready to blast away. She explains that when she's scared, she just has to kill someone, but Barton thinks that might be a bit extreme.

Barton is a nice, clean-cut, salt of the earth kind of guy who wouldn't be robbing anyone if it wasn't for his wife. They're in love with each other and are fated to be together, but they have different ideas on the worth of a human life.

This movie had elements of the novel The Getaway, Jim Thompson's 1958 masterwork, in it. They are two separate works, but are reminiscent of each other. But whereas The Getaway had you believing in the relationship between the couple throughout the novel, Gun Crazy is hit and miss (Hit and miss? Guns? Nevermind.) most of the time. In both the novel and movie, the couple plan to escape to Mexico. That's what forced the comparison on me.

How about the way Barton and Annie "plan" their robberies? Charles Grodin's line from Midnight Run can be adapted to "You guys are the dumbest bank robbers I've ever seen!" Masks? Forget that. Case the joint? What a waste of time.

Then there's the big heist. They both get jobs at the place they're going to rob. How easy is that? Not very, I'd imagine, but the couple is charmed in this instance. They're going to rob the company payroll. Now I ask you, what company in 1950 paid their employees in cash? Did anyone? Weren't payroll checks en vogue back then?

And who knew that the numbers on the bills used for payroll were recorded? Or that people a thousand miles away from the heist could recognize the bills when they were used to pay for something? Who knew? Did you know?

The manner of story telling is more telling of the low budget than the story. Like Reservoir Dogs we often do not see the crime but hear about it afterward. Unlike Reservoir Dogs, there's not enough happening afterward to make us think that watching the crime would've been more exciting. Barton goes into a bank, he comes out of the bank. I think he held them up.

Coincidences happen to often to be ignored. Need a car? Just wait a second and the right person to fleece will pick you, a female hitch-hiker, up. This pigeon will even being making advances at just the right point in the journey where he needs to turn off the main road.

Still, people talk about the wonderful composition of the scenes. That's nice. It did nothing for me. What would've helped would have been if the director had managed to integrate the actors and their characters with the other actors and their characters. Dall was a good actor and Cummins a good actress. Yet they seemed to be out of synch. She looked like she was acting in a thriller and he looked like he was acting in a character study. The director should have merged the two techniques.

I'm not saying it would have been easy, but isn't that what directors are supposed to do?

It's not really a bad movie despite the cheap sets and mis-mash of pacing. (Let's spend ten minutes on waiting in traffic here and two minutes on character transformation there.) But due to the weak script and even weaker direction, I barely cared about the characters. So the ending, which should have been poignant and thought provoking proved to be just an ending.

There's no profanity, nudity, or blasphemy. It's not as torrid as it wants to be despite an attempt at steamy passion. It's not a complete waste of time and I guess if you're an aspiring cinematographer, it's a good film to study.

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