Disturbing, educational, scary, well researched and a wake up call. Big Jeremy Irons fan and he did a great job along with a whole host of knowledgeable people who painted a somewhat dire picture but did have some bits of encouragement. Film really makes you think about how you can improve the trash situation with some thoughtful shopping and living. This is why I love documentaries.
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.