More than any other theory he offers in Collapse, and he offers many, Michael C. Ruppert wants you to open yourself to that .1% possibility. You don't have to forget what's probably true, and what makes more sense. You don't have to rule out the things that comfort you. You just have to be willing and ready for your perspective on everything to do a 180 once in awhile. Ruppert talks about working on the LAPD and discovering his colleagues dealing drugs. "'This must be an isolated incident!'", he reflects, quoting his own internal logic at the time with a reasonable amount of amusement. Uh-huh.
Ruppert's focus is on oil: how dependent we are on it (very) and how soon it's going to run out (soon). In the first 10 or 15 minutes, he predicts an oil-related disaster, in which the price of oil plummets. Obviously, he was talking about a financial disaster, but as I write this it has been 75 days since the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon, and it's impossible not to watch Collapse without thinking about those hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil pouring out into the water with each passing minute. Even as a kid, I always wondered what would happen if the world ran out of something that was natural, and what we would do next. I assumed someone else was thinking about it. 20 years later, it's somewhat disturbing to know that all the adults were assuming the same thing.
Huppert is a great speaker, breaking things down into logical chunks and presenting each case with a passion and enthusiasm that seems to rattle even him. When he isn't speaking, he sits there and considers many things: what he's just said, each question being asked of him, what that question says about him, what it says about the person asking it. You can see the wheels turning as his mental eye zooms in and out of the current human condition. There are times when he sounds like one of those crazy people you see at bus stops talking about the FBI's top secret warehouse full of aliens, but director Chris Smith, off-camera, is quick to address any cracks in his veneer by demanding the same answers an audience would probably ask of Huppert, keeping both the man, his thought process, and his advice in perspective. Smith's style of shooting, choice of music and general style are a little bit portentious and bombastic, but the technique is still basically minimalistic and focused on its subject.
I had a debate on Twitter the other day with a person who was arguing in favor of legalizing marijuana. There are many reasons for and against, and I'm simplifying her argument here, but one of her closing Tweets essentially said that even if pot was harmful, it was only as harmful as beer and cigarettes. Those are legal, she said, and pot could save my state's economy. Even if I don't like it, on some level, I have a hard time arguing with that. I see where she's coming from. It's a golden opportunity in the middle of a minefield and there's a path right to it. On the other hand, I think, isn't that like being in a hole and digging sideways rather than climbing out? Collapse presents an even worse scenario: no matter how fast we dig sideways, gravity will pull us downward until we step back and try to objectively solve the oil problem, because it is a problem; it just won't last forever. Before you let anything else get in the way of this decision, ask yourself: why not? What is there to lose? Smith's documentary about Huppert turns out to be a great place to try -- just try -- and see whether Huppert's wisdom works: sit down, set your opinions firmly off to the side, and listen.
The Video and Audio
The film's original theatrical trailer is also included.