x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

The Age of Stupid

The Age of Stupid's condescending tone undermines it important environmental message.

This climate change documentary has a such a cloying narrative structure that it undermines its own important environmental message. Pete Postlethwaite plays an archivist in 2055 who lives in a pod that was built to keep a record of life before catastrophes caused by altered weather conditions wiped out most humans. The scary thing is supposed to be that this sea-bound museum - which looks like it has come straight from the end of Steven Spielberg's Artificial Intelligence: AI - exists because of damage we are doing now. But when Postlethwaite gives us a history lesson (he uses his finger to flick through a futuristic computer screen), it just seems like he's talking down to us. The condescending tone is unlikely to convert anyone to the cause. As for the footage itself, it's the usual composite of rising seas, growing deserts and human ignorance about the destruction of the planet. Don't expect any counterbalancing arguments because, as the title clearly states, such voices of dissent are stupid, especially those of the campaigners in an English village who stopped a wind farm being built on the grounds of aesthetics. The director Fanny Armstrong has a strong point here, but it seems unlikely that name calling will convince many viewers. The film, important as it is, might have benefited from having a more neutral tone. But, then again, Armstrong's point is that the time for shouting is already here.

The Age of Stupid screens today at 9.45pm and Friday at 6.45pm at Cinestar 2, Marina Mall.