Peak Oil Flicks

I am a lifelong film fan - and over the years I've written lots of movie reviews (See some of these under “Articles and Essays” on my Main Page.)

"Peak Oil Flicks" has a slightly different focus: These are mainstream Hollywood features that I've selected to demonstrate how energy choices --especially oil -- influence, or even enable, what happens in a film. Whether in an action thriller or a sci-fi saga, this ubiquitous, non-renewable fossil fuel is, indeed, a leading, if unbilled, character on the Silver Screen.

Watch carefully, and you might be surprised at the extent to which oil – along with those supporting cast members, coal and nuclear -- oozes into almost every facet of modern life - onscreen and otherwise. Could it be that we need a new energy script for the future?


  • OFF THE RAILS

    In portraying environmental issues, film has proven its unique power to influence public sentiment. A standout example is The China Syndrome, a 1979 anti-nuclear thriller released mere days before the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor plant accident made front-page news.  The 2012 feature film, The Promised Land, brought to...




  • SLAVES, HUMAN AND OTHER

    Against all odds, a film based on a 150-year-old, almost forgotten book has generated international acclaim and is positioned to sweep multiple Oscars categories.  The recently-released “12 Years A Slave” tells the true story of Solomon Northrup, a free black man living in New York state with his wife and two children in 1841.
     
    That year...




  •  
    THROWN TO THE WOLVES   
     
    John Ottway has the Job at the End of the World. He is a sharpshooter who protects oil rig workers from animal predators lurking in the wilderness surrounding a remote Alaskan oil facility. When Ottway (Liam Neeson) and some of the workers board a light plane for Nome,  he finds that his knowledge of wolf behavior will come in handy. The plane crashes and he and the handful of survivors face an ultimate battle of survival with no fuel, food or GPS signal.
    ...




  • APOCALYPSE BITES

    Admit it: you love Soylent Green. Whenever it appears on any late-night television schedule, fans of thecult film have to watch. Not because it’s a good movie. With its cheesy “futuristic” music and leading man Charlton Heston’s faux tough-guy dialogue, Soylent Greenis an easy target to lampoon. But its impact – and its message – continues to be surprisingly durable.

    The year is 2022. Scarcity – of every resource – is a fixed...




  •  Brain Storms

                                                    
     
    “I’m afraid something’s coming – something that’s not right. I can’t explain it. I just need you to believe it.”

    Curtis LaForche, an excavation worker in a small Ohio town, has a troubling secret. He feels brown, gelatinous rain coating his skin. He sees...




  • Elevated

     
    If you are one of the 16 or so people who has seen the recent release of Atlas Shrugged: Part I, you’ll be heartened to know there’s another Ayn Rand film to enjoy while you’re waiting for the next Atlas installment (but don’t hold your breath). That film is The Fountainhead, released in 1949.

    Russian...




  • Grounded       

    Meet Ryan Bingham. Portrayed by George Clooney, Ryan is a “termination specialist,” a well-compensated corporate hatchet man who travels the U.S. doing the dirty work for companies: firing their redundant employees. Using the neutral, bland language of corporate manuals, self-help pamphlets and greeting cards, he delivers his grim message, then moves on to the next shuttered business or office park in another city. While the people he terminates face pain...




  • Hell on Wheels

    There was no competition when it came to choosing my first Peak Oil Flicks pick. It had to be “The Road Warrior,” filmdom’s most prescient allegory of life without oil. Certainly, other films have trod this same terrain of post-apocalyptic dystopias—“Terminator,” “Damnation Alley,” “Panic in the Year Zero” and many more. But “Road Warrior” is the entry that cuts right to the chase, so to speak, and in its first five...