"Collapse" DVD Review

6/26/2010 Posted by Admin


DVD Review

Directed by Chris Smith, 82 Minutes, Not Rated

By our guest blogger, Rob Stammitti

"Collapse" is about as bleak as modern film gets. After an attempt to interview writer and former police officer Michael Ruppert to gain information on alleged drug trafficking by the CIA in the 1970s, documentarian Chris Smith found that Ruppert was far more interested in discussing his life's work. That is, the exploration of economic and social collapse that the world has been suffering for decades.

With such disparate labels ranging from cuckoo conspiracy theorist to Nostradamus-like genius, Ruppert tells through this brief interview (cut together from a whopping five days of footage) the effort he has undergone throughout his life to reveal the circumvent the upcoming collapse of human society as we know it. Smith's film is about as much a horror film as it is a documentary.

Ruppert, sometimes soft-spoken and calm and occasionally in a complete rage, discusses first the current energy crisis and the apparent flaw he finds in the desperate searches for alternate energy sources. He then moves on to the government itself, and in quick succession condemns the CIA, the Bush administration, the Federal Reserve, and eventually even the American people, who have ignored his pleas for so many years. To Ruppert, the world is not far from an inevitable downfall. He compares the state of modern society to the Titanic in that it will ultimately sink and only those willing to work toward rebuilding the world after the collapse will survive.

Were it not for Smith's careful line of questioning and Barry Poltermann's excellent editing, "Collapse" could have quickly turned into a piece of intolerable alarmist propaganda. As it stands, the documentary works both as a testament to Ruppert's intense dedication to his cause as well as an examination of the man, almost a character study. Smith himself has claimed to be aiming more toward the latter than a document of Ruppert's actual beliefs. In that respect, the film is an overwhelming success. Smith could not have chosen a better subject. Ruppert is somber but likable, his rhetoric wild and, yes, often alarmist but also occasionally inspiring, and most of all, the man is just fascinating to watch. Even if one was to completely ignore his message, to see someone speak with such gravitas and dedication is awe-inspiring.

It's possible that if one were to take Ruppert's claims seriously and accept them as fact without looking further than this film, one would likely be lacking a lot of background information as well as a well-rounded understanding of the topics at hand. Even as someone who has been researching energy, politics and economy for 30 years, Ruppert, like everyone else, is doomed to view things from his own perspective in the end. So, conspiracy theorist or not, factual or not, Ruppert and his claims would be dangerous to take at face value. This is generally the case with all documentaries, and it's likely Smith understands this and intended it to be the case. With that considered, Ruppert's stories, even at their worst, are important simply for their ability to call the public to action. And if in a decade Ruppert has been proved wrong, he can take comfort in the fact that he still managed to stir up some sort of effort from a society that gets more passive every day.

Even as a simple interview, "Collapse" is quite a dense piece of work, and a depressing one at that, and it's an absolute thrill to watch. Certainly one of the best documentaries of recent years.

Grade: A

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  1. Hrushi said...

    Very well said... "documentary".........

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