If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front (2011)
Average Rating: 7/10
Reviews Counted: 32
Fresh: 28 | Rotten: 4
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Average Rating: 6.6/10
Critic Reviews: 15
Fresh: 12 | Rotten: 3
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Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 1,338
Filmmaker Marshall Curry explores the inner workings of the Earth Liberation Front, a revolutionary movement devoted to crippling facilities involved in deforestation, while simultaneously offering a profile of Oregon ELF member Daniel McGowan, who was brought up on terrorism charges for his involvement with the radical group. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
Jun 22, 2011 Limited
Aug 30, 2011
Oscilloscope - Official Site
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It's tempting to watch If a Tree Falls doc about a scraggly group of ecoterrorists with a chip of skepticism on your shoulder. Yet the film creates a fantastic moral ambivalence.
Curry tells a compelling tale about the differences of opinion over what constitutes desperate measures, and how readily we throw around a term like terrorism.
Watching it may not change anyone's ideology, but it will force you to see the players as complex people with understandable motivations.
Unless you are a true believer in the tenets of deep ecology, the film may seem more like an apology for the group's dangerous activities.
As emotive and far-reaching as the issues involved are, this incisive feature is most potent when capturing Daniel McGowan's life and mind dismantling.
Now locked down as a terrorist in America's CMU system, ELF activist Daniel McGowan lit more than a few fires.
The film is a fascinating look inside a little-known arm of the larger environmental movement.
Although kind to the plights of activists who face hard time for victimless crimes, this film is balanced -- conservatives could easily interpret it as validation of the group's persecution.
McGowan's views on the environment have taken several turns, but none of them is illustrated in the film, in which he comes off as passive and a little whiny.
An intelligent look at civil disobedience and the official criminalization of enviros who take peaceful demonstrations one step further.
"If a Tree Falls" never loses sight of the human beings at the heart of the conflict -- no matter what side of the conflict they're on.
Gets a bit bogged down in legal and procedural details during its final 30 minutes but it will, hopefully, open eyes and hearts.
It serves an important purpose in calling attention to environmental issues. In today's political climate, environmentalism only gets discussed in the context of job creation or monetary savings.
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