If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front Reviews

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Simon Foster
February 9, 2012
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.
Ron Wilkinson
Monsters and Critics
November 14, 2011
Now locked down as a terrorist in America's CMU system, ELF activist Daniel McGowan lit more than a few fires.
Full Review | Original Score: 9/10
Robert Roten
Laramie Movie Scope
October 29, 2011
The film is a fascinating look inside a little-known arm of the larger environmental movement.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Dennis Schwartz
Ozus' World Movie Reviews
October 29, 2011
An earnest and even-handed documentary about a naive and whiny mild-mannered thirtysomething ecology activist.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
September 7, 2011
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.
Full Review | Original Score: A
Ken Hanke
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
August 17, 2011
Considerably more thought-provoking than expected.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Top Critic
Stephanie Merry
Washington Post
August 12, 2011
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
July 28, 2011
Watching it may not change anyone's ideology, but it will force you to see the players as complex people with understandable motivations.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Mark Feeney
Boston Globe
July 28, 2011
The problem is that the heart of the movie is McGowan. He's just not a very compelling figure.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Chris Faraone
Boston Phoenix
July 28, 2011
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Gary Goldstein
Los Angeles Times
July 22, 2011
The gripping documentary If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front offers an intimate look at the radical environmental group.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul)
St. Paul Pioneer Press
July 21, 2011
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.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Kelly Vance
East Bay Express
July 21, 2011
An intelligent look at civil disobedience and the official criminalization of enviros who take peaceful demonstrations one step further.
Shawn Levy
July 21, 2011
"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.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Fr. Chris Carpenter
Movie Dearest
July 15, 2011
Gets a bit bogged down in legal and procedural details during its final 30 minutes but it will, hopefully, open eyes and hearts.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Walter V. Addiego
San Francisco Chronicle
July 14, 2011
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Bruce Diones
New Yorker
June 27, 2011
An informative, if troubling, narrative about the future of the environmental movement.
Phil Hall
Film Threat
June 24, 2011
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.
| Original Score: 2.5/5
Top Critic
Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
June 24, 2011
Despite their efforts to address most sides of this complex story, each new interview leaves us wanting to know even more.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Chris Barsanti
June 23, 2011
The story of how a muscular anti-logging campaign devolved into sectarian turmoil that shot off radicalized cells like burning cinders is ultimately what drives the film and makes it so rewarding
| Original Score: 3.5/5
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