Movie Review Friday: Fuel
Escape to the movies with one of our Movie Review Friday selections. Each week we review a film with an environmental theme that's currently in theaters or available on DVD. Seen a good eco-flick lately? Send us a short review and look for it in the next Movie Review Friday.
Fuel (2008 and 2010)
Filmmaker and green-energy advocate Josh Tickell spent 11 years making this exhaustive documentary about oil addiction and alternative fuels. The recently re-released film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2008, years before the BP oil disaster. Yet it proffers a wealth of information about the oil industry's long history in Louisiana and features a few eerily prescient scenes, including an interview with a former Texaco executive who says about the viability of a proposed deepwater oil-drilling operation in the Gulf of Mexico: "It would be easier to walk on the face of the moon." The documentary also examines the oil industry's strong ties to the U.S. government, revealing that BP spent $30 million in payola to politicians between 1998 and 2004.
While disturbing at times, the film isn't a total downer. Its solutions-oriented latter half examines alternative energy sources such as biodiesel, ethanol, algae, wind, and solar – and Tickell's enthusiasm for green energy becomes contagious.
He covers a lot of ground, a good thing for anyone seeking a 111-minute overview of fuel issues. However, for viewers who want focus on one type of renewable, this movie may stretch too thin. Cameos by green celebrities including Sheryl Crow, Woody Harrleson, Willie Nelson, and Julia Roberts add some texture and glamour. However, the interviews with fuel and alternative-energy experts feel more substantive.
Overall, Fuel is a timely, inspiring, and information-packed film that offers a remedy for victims of oil-spill-induced malaise.