Trashed Reviews

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December 18, 2014
The movie Trashed, directed by Candida Brady, was a masterfully written and beautifully narrated documentary that depicts the overpowering issue of waste in our society. Jeremy Irons, the film's narrator, introduces the problem of trash disposal around the world and the devastating effects that it has on our health and the environment. One of the major issues the film focuses on is how our society is becoming an increasingly throwaway society, highlighting such facts as how humans dispose of 200 billion plastic bottles and 58 billion styrofoam cups every year. Trashed was an eye opener, to say the least, from the very get go when the filmmaker introduces the world as looking perfect from up in space. This is such a true statement, but as we journey through the film the daunting images we see throughout paint a much different and very emotional story. Candida Brady and Jeremy Irons present the issue of trash disposal around the world, provide expert testimony detailing the health issues our waste is causing, introduce how businesses and farms are being affected, and provide examples of how people are attempting to remedy the situation. Between the horrifying images and the eye opening facts Trashed portrays, one would be hard pressed to find any viewer of the film that won't, at the very least, think twice before just tossing away another plastic water bottle.
The film has many strengths, the first being the strong imagery that accompanies the information presented by the narrator. From the disheartening scenes of the many beaches covered in trash a few feet high, to the dolphins and seals hopelessly caught in plastic netting, to the scenes of the landfills polluting the air less than a mile from a small town, Trashed paints a vivid picture of the sad state of affairs for waste removal in this country. These images accompany some very powerful facts, for example how chromium-6 (also known as hexavalent chromium, a known carcinogen), cadmium and many other toxic chemicals are being found when ground samples and drinking water samples are being taken, and how the government is attempting to make us believe that they are "unlikely to be associated with risks to our health".
Another strength of the film is that many different views and opinions are
presented on the issues, there are different proposed solutions for these problems, and issues with these solutions are presented as well to make for a very well rounded view of waste management.
While the film has many strengths, there are some notable weaknesses found throughout. The first and most potent example is that, although the facts are staggering, some of the information provided is grossly over exaggerated and really used for shock value. Irons ventures to Vietnam to visit a hospital for disfigured children whose parents were exposed to Agent Orange released by the United States during the Vietnam War. The point he attempts to make here is that Agent Orange, a toxic herbicide, contains dioxins much like the ones released by incinerators into the atmosphere which can cause genetic defects. While it is true that incinerators release dioxins into the atmosphere, the concentration is far, far less than the amount contained in Agent Orange and exposure to these would not cause the type of genetic mutations that affected the people in Vietnam.
Another weakness of the film is that it spends entirely too much energy blaming the waste atrocity on everyday Americans. While we do contribute to this problem, many of us are conscious of what we throw out, recycle, use paper instead of plastic, and lobby for proactive solutions to the problem. The film needed to attribute more time to explaining how large industry and businesses are a major cause of waste production throughout the world and have an enormous impact on the problem at hand. Irons harsh words are sometimes belittling to the public and I'm sure that all of the experts and filmmakers aren't complete saints when it comes to waste production.
Although the film has some pitfalls, Trashed was a triumphant film that certainly accomplishes its goal of shedding light upon the tragic issue of waste. Overall, the film flowed smoothly, provided viewers with great information, included viewpoints from highly qualified experts, and had the best interests of our future at hand. I would recommend this film to anyone who is interested in the sustainability of the environment and to anyone who loves a truly eye-opening film about how to make a difference and become part of a solution to a growing ecological problem.
½ July 20, 2013
Our inefficiencies are killing us.
April 14, 2013
Hard to watch the devastation, but we must change our habits on earth. Zero Waste is the way forward.
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