Saw Go Further
in the theatre the other night
This is the Mann/Harrelson documentary that played last year at the Toronto Film Festival where we see Woody Harrelson take the road on a biodiesel bus and does pit stop lectures at various west coast colleges, speaking on the theme of personal choices and their effect on the planet's ecology.
It's an amusing and endearing travelogue -- there's some nice music (Bob Weir at the bus stop playing That's it for the Other One on acoustic is nice and there are many other musician cameos) and some great scenery (Redwoods, Northern California coastline).
But big problems: as presented, Harrelson and his gang of raw food yogists aren't that interesting as people. The Steve story line and Joe Hickey's bike crash help some, but the people element isn't really developed. So on it's on to the issues. Species are dying, plants are disappearing, we all got to do something, yada yada.
Ok. So we see pictures of clear cuts, and then cut to Carolyn Moran of Living Tree
who has two minutes to make the case for tree-free paper. BGH gets milked a lot - go dairy free- but the claims made aren't really analyzed, good thing being a vegan clears up skin blemishes though. Hemp's a solution but you never see a plant. How did they make the biofuel
anyway? Cigarettes are always bad of course but pot is good. Raw food is a solution, but hey, you need a personal chef.
You meet a worm farmer, an organic farmer, the Ruckus Society, Ken Kesey, a lady who agrees with the message and not the activist method. Basically it's a catalogue of cameos and a shopping list of causes and easy solutions and a little discussion (but not much).
The scene with the crystal meth heads stands out. Three bug eyed kids in a logging town, up for 4 days and bug eyed wide, drinking coca cola and inhaling computer screen cleaner while they talk to the Bus-ers about stuff. There's a hint of Deliverance
, sniffing at the edges, around it.
I wonder what Harrelson's College talks were like. The filmmaker strangely doesn't want to spend a lot of time on them. He's happier to focus on the bike riding.
This film lacks the impact of a Moore movie, a Supersize Me
or the sleeper hit of The Corporation
. When I saw The Corporation
, the theatre was sold out. They added extra shows that day. When I saw Go Further
on a Sunday night, there were a dozen people there. Can't say those dozen people will go home and tell other people to see this movie. Too bad: North American theatre goers are enjoying a renaissance in documentary filmmaking, probably the flip side of all those ubiquitous reality TV shows but anyway, clearly both the standard and audiences expectations has been raised.
Overall, the fluffy and friendly Go Further is low calorie. If you're going to make a film about the very important issues of personal choices, food and sustainability, lets have some meat.