HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Morfalous, Les
Dreambuilders
Everything Went Fine
Lux AEterna
Rum Runners
Fairy and the Devil, The
Mad God
Outside the Law
I Remember Mama
Superman Unbound
Lawrence of Belgravia
House Across the Lake, The
Wonder Park
Hornsby e Rodriguez
Operation Mincemeat
5 Kung Fu Daredevil Heroes
Scoob!
Earwig
Offseason
Peau Douce, La
Double Indemnity
Na Cha and the Seven Devils
Deep Murder
Superman vs. the Elite
Adam Project, The
Osamu Tezuka's Last Mystery of the 20th Century
Horse, La
Buffaloed
Train Robbers, The
Let Sleeping Cops Lie
Abominable
Funeral, The
Burning Sea, The
Godzilla Singular Point
Ace of Aces
Innocents, The
Beast and the Magic Sword, The
Last Hard Men, The
Found Footage Phenomenon, The
Night Trap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front Green With Anger
Year: 2011
Director: Marshall Curry, Sam Cullman
Stars: Daniel McGowan, various
Genre: DocumentaryBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: The Earth Liberation Front was a splinter group who in the late nineties split from the better known Earth First movement, an ecology pressure group who did their best to raise environmental issues, often in the method of staging protests. The E.L.F. decided there was no progress to be made with non-violent demonstration and began a campaign of destruction, vandalising or even burning to the ground various buildings for companies involved with logging, animal slaughter or whatever these organisations carried out all in the name of profit...

And for a long time, even after the group stopped their arson attacks, the law could not catch up with them, such was the skill they employed with covering their tracks. However, as we begin this documentary the filmmakers have caught up with one of the members, Daniel McGowan, who was currently under house arrest, unable to leave his apartment, so it's clear the E.L.F. did not continue to run forever. Then the story begins to unfold of how they were caught, using Daniel as the centre which provides a human face to a movement who were never keen on revealing who they were, and a whole host of questions arise.

The key word here is "terrorist", as that is what Daniel and his ex-associates were branded by both the media and the authorities, something he hotly disputed, not seeing the connection between what he did, which was being careful not to hurt anyone in their targetting of buildings, and what your average suicide bomber got up to. Yet as the attacks on the U.S.A. of September the 11th 2001 brought that word into the minds of everyone in the country, never mind the world, it proves difficult to shift and it seems for ever more Daniel will be know as the eco-terrorist, no matter how much he protests otherwise.

Directors Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman were careful not to come down too heavily on one side or the other, so you could absolutely see that the damage done to the environment was something which should be raised with the public, but also that the manner in which the E.L.F. went about staging that highlighting of the issues was misguided at best, and they were very lucky that in their over one thousand acts of "fighting back" nobody got hurt. Not that losing your job because someone has razed your workplace to the ground doesn't hurt, but physical violence against the authorities never seemed to be on the agenda.

That wasn't the case the other way around, as we see footage of the police using pepper spray on the eyes of peaceful protestors, and liberal use of the baton against them to boot. If there's a problem here it's acknowledged by one of the interviewees: when the debate wants to be black and white in its angles, the truth is far more complicated, and while the filmmakers were sympathetic towards Daniel and his family who feature quite heavily here, they cannot get away from the fact he was responsible for extensive criminal damage. When he is allowed to speak his mind he seems as if he cannot quite believe what he did to get into this situation where he's facing a lengthy sentence, and in a prison for housing, yes, terrorists as well, so complex, troubling matters of contention arise about what happens when yesterday's fanatic becomes today's ordinary citizen. That this cannot answer those conundrums makes for an understandable, but noticeably weakened work.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2338 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Mary Sibley
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: