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Cool It (Review)

Global warming documentary lets personality overshadow important message

By Cole Smithey · November 18th, 2010 · Movies

Ondi Timoner's feature-length documentary platform for mapping out facts and fallacies about global warming might shed light on additionally pressing issues like global poverty and lack of clean drinking water, but it never brings the audience into the one-sided conversation.

Famous (and infamous) author Bjorn Lomborg (The Skeptical Environmentalist) likes to tout his unlikely association to Al Gore's coattails as someone who understands the world's problems better. After spending the first 20 minutes chronicling how the scientific community attempted to censor Lomborg's book for what it viewed as agenda-driven lies — the author was exonerated in court from such accusations — a narrative takes shape around Lomborg's proposal for how NATO should spend $250 billion to address the world's problems by prioritizing them.

By the time the film comes around to spelling out Lomborg's formula in chalkboard black and white, it rushes past so quickly that you don't have time to digest the calculations.

The author is shown to be a showman with a very big ego that frequently obfuscates his humanitarian message. Cool It is a conversation-provoking film rich with challenging ideas about improving the world using tools available to us. Unfortunately, Timoner does a disservice to a complex subject overshadowed by a cult of personality. Grade: C-

Opens Nov. 19 at Kenwood Theatre (read about the new theater complex here). Check out theaters and show times, see the trailer and get theater details here.


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