An Unreasonable Man Reviews
This film is bookended by liberals, who are incensed at Nader, talking about how he ruined the country and tarnished his legacy. Then, the film details his legacy in length, highlighting Unsafe at any Speed and the several other initiatives Nader championed as a consumer advocate. But it eventually returns to a debate about Nader's decision to run in Florida, contrasting liberals' objections with Nader's defenses.
I found myself liking Nader by the end of the film and dismissing his detractors. Nader's tenacity and moral commitment are things I admire, and the film does too.
Overall, I think An Unreasonable Man is worth watching because there are reasons to respect this man no matter what his influence on American politics has been.
[font=Century Gothic]It is clear that Nader presented a valid alternative to a right-wing party and a week-kneed corporate party in 2000. Through testimony from both supporters and detractors, the documentary makes an excellent case that Nader should not be held as the scapegoat for the results of the 2000 election, as there were many factors involved.(The 2000 Florida shenanigans are barely mentioned.) And please remember that all candidates have to earn their votes.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]The documentary seeks to redeem Nader's reputation but he strikes me as somebody without an ego, whose job and life it is to fight the good fight, in saving lives. In short, he does not care about his legacy.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]Note: I did vote for Ralph Nader in both 1996 and 2000. [/font]
My favorite moment in the film is the oscillation between the bitter former Nader fans who blame Nader for spoiling the election and the political scientist who studied Nader?s movements and declared that his strategy was not at all about spoiling. Rabid opinion versus hard fact always makes for good cinema.
A more compelling movie could have been made if the creators had delved into other aspects of his run that were only briefly mentioned in the film, and again used more documentation supporting that. In particular, I am thinking of the one motivation mentioned by one of his campaign managers that they wanted to help the Green Party grow and establish new locals throughout the US. As member of the Green Party, I can tell you that if nothing else, his 2000 run did a tremendous in helping the Greens gain traction in places we had struggled before.
The other thing I found disappointing and would have felt would have made a more compelling film was more documentation supporting the claim that Nader's run had drawn more independents and others who traditionally did not vote out to polling booths and that those votes would not have automatically been cast for another candidate. I could go on and on, but I just felt that the film, in its structure, was just too formalized and followed a common, worn out format for documentaries.