In the film Out of Balance, documentarian Tom Jackson turns his lens on some inconvenient truths about energy titan Exxon Mobil and its effect on climate change. Spotlighting the company’s efforts to fund skewed media campaigns and support global-warming skeptics, Jackson builds his case in interviews with leading writers and scientists in the field of climatology. Rather than whether global warming exists, this film explores why does a debate about it still exists? The fact of global warming is stated as accepted within the first minutes of the film. This does not mean viewers must agree with the premise, but if one is a holdout, the next hour of film might be a bit of a shock. A U.N. study that was peer reviewed by over 2,000 scientists worldwide and whose wording, conclusions, and content was approved by 150 nations, an extraordinary consensus to say the least, acknowledges global warming’s existence and man-made pollutions as its fuel. The ensuing research and interviews are not a rehashing of the U.N. conclusions but an examination of why Americans still believe there is a debate on this issue. Exxon Mobile is particularly taken to task. I think the most helpful message in this film is the one regarding how Exxon Mobil and large global corporations manipulate the media and through that the general public into thinking that global warming is a debate. As far as the issue goes, I believe that when you look at the actual science there is no denying climate change exists and that it will have profound effects. The fact that one of the world’s largest companies, that is closely connected with the most economically and politically powerful government, can cause such a manipulation of the media is alarming. Corporate denial of an issue that is otherwise undisputed is the real target of this movie. Out of Balance delves deep into the greed of Exxon and the negative impacts this oil monster has on the globe. Exxon has a track record of irresponsibly conducting business, often endangering the lives of those around them. This movie is a condensed exposé of Exxon’s history, which covers the Exxon Valdez spill, and also how they managed to atrociously botch the cleanup. While other oil companies such as BP transition into energy companies, Exxon stubbornly clings to oil. Interestingly, several Exxon executives sit down and spin the corporate line. Having read about global warming and the oil peak for years now I am not convinced by their arguments. Though I don’t have anything against people making money, I do resent the Gilded Age greed of giant contemporary companies. Rather than looking toward this movie as proof of global warming, it is much more helpful to watch it to understand how hegemonic global forces have contributed to lack of innovation in terms of global policy and environmental technology. The film also explains the science behind global warming, as well as offering up some solutions to the crisis. Several people urge boycotts of Exxon. I liked this move; it is an important look at how our freedoms are being encroached upon by big oil. Overall, this documentary accomplishes its goals and is well produced and executed. Watch this movie if you want to learn more about the business practices employed to raise false doubts about global warming. If you’re like me, it will feed the fire that makes you care about the bigger picture. Documentary 2007 NR 65 minutes.
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