You can't argue with a man who wants to save the world, even if he is the jet-setting movie star Leonardo DiCaprio. In this eco-conscious documentary, which he produced and presents, the message comes across loud at least, but not always clear. A heavy dose of hysteria along with copious scientific data means that, even at 90 minutes, it can feel unwieldy and quite overwhelming. Still, if you're able to handle the pace, it is in the end, a positive eye-opener.
Before that comes an El Niño-style torrent of negativity. DiCaprio puts on his serious, squinty face for a detailed picture of doom and smog-induced gloom that would make even Roland Emmerich dizzy. Cue the hurricanes swirling, oil wells exploding, towns being washed away and babies dying. Tragically, we've seen it all before so there's little shock value. The scientific evidence offered by an array of experts is much more unnerving and, soon enough, mind-boggling. It's up to a seriously squinty DiCaprio to spell it out: WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE.
"INSPIRES A SENSE OF SHARED RESPONSIBILITY"
Everything seems so futile, including this film which heaps the blame on big corporations for raping the planet, and on world leaders for turning a blind eye. That notion of the world ending is only heightened by the fact that former politician Al Gore (delivering An Inconvenient Truth) has managed to out-charm the kid from Titanic. But then the sun comes out; a friendly sun that won't blast you with a lethal dose of UV radiation. Finally, DiCaprio and his scaremongers show us what can be done to avert destruction. Grand plans for cleaner transport, systems of renewable energy and day-to-day sustainable living add up to a surprisingly seductive vision of the future. After so much horror, the last gust of this brainstorm inspires a sense of shared responsibility and a feeling that change is possible and practical. The rest is up to you.
The 11th Hour is out in the UK on 21st March 2008.