Collapse - DVD Review

'pessimistic and hopeless; a dystopic picture not dissimilar to Cormac McCarthy's The Road'

Collapse intrinsically links itself to its subject to such a degree that it makes critiquing them as separate entities difficult, if not nigh on impossible. For his documentary, director Chris Smith basically hands the floor to Michael Ruppert - an ex-LA cop, 'one man think tank', writer and forward thinker - who he then allows to spew his theories for eighty-two minutes.

Loosely, the film divides into two conceptual halves. The first sees Smith supporting and cajoling Ruppert to tell his tales, the latter comfortably chain smoking as Smith interjects irregularly and then only to invite Ruppert down a different track. The balancing of archive footage and Ruppert's diatribe is well-judged and ensures the audience doesn't slip into visceral boredom, whilst Ruppert's theories in this section seem plausible, well thought out and compelling.

The first half then is easy to appreciate and be suitably shocked by and understanding where Ruppert is coming from seems simple. The arguments surrounding 'peak oil' being reached are easy to take but when Ruppert moves into discussing the implications of this event he started to lose both me and, apparently, Smith.

The second half appears to see Ruppert make factual errors (he seems to state that the human race has never found a way to beat gravity), grow angry at Smith ('who are you to ask me that?') and avoid answering questions entirely. The ex-cop's dismal theory on how humanity would cope should the 'Collapse' come about is pessimistic and hopeless; a dystopic picture not dissimilar to Cormac McCarthy's The Road. As Smith allows the film to become more critical of Ruppert, it's difficult to keep the first productive half in mind and easier to write Ruppert off as an egotist (the turning point is when Ruppert claims George W. Bush took a personal interest in shutting him up), leaving the film as an interesting, if dis-heartening, character portrait - subject and film both concluding with a slightly inflated sense of self-importance.

Collapse is out in the UK on DVD on Monday 1st November

Look further...

'I don't know when I've seen a thriller more frightening. I couldn't tear my eyes from the screen' - Roger Ebert, 4/4

No comments:

Post a Comment