Collapse Review

Published 4 years ago by , Updated May 2nd, 2011 at 6:38 am,

Short Version: Whether you accept them or not, it’s hard to walk away unaffected by the dire warnings of Collapse.

collapse 1 Collapse Review

Screen Rant’s Kofi Outlaw Reviews Collapse

Collapse is the new documentary by Chris Smith, director of the 1999 documentary American Movie.  The premise is simple: the movie is an eighty minute diatribe by Michael Ruppert, a former LAPD officer and longtime investigative journalist, who has been working for years stringing together what he believes is an imminent doomsday scenario for modern civilization.

The film consists of Smith sitting off camera, interviewing Ruppert in what looks to be a vacant warehouse, while Ruppert lays out his doomsday theory start to finish with archival news footage spliced in to evidence his claims. Along the way we learn about Ruppert himself, his personal history, belief systems etc. After painting a terrifying picture of the near future, Ruppert closes by offering us advice for navigating the coming disaster.

So why am I giving this movie 5 stars? Because as a movie, it’s a gripping, intense, thought-provoking documentary/thriller  that people need to see.

The doomsday theory is this: Oil is the basis of modern civilization. It’s why modern civilization was able to develop; why we were able to populate the Earth with 6 billion people; it’s a component in everything from plastics to paints, to tires, all modes of transportation, the root fuel of electrical systems, digital signals, you name it.  And according to Ruppert (and like-minded theorists), as of today the entire global civilization has pushed past the point of “peak oil” – that is, the pinnacle height of worldwide oil production.

Passing the peak of worldwide oil production puts the world on a downward slope where there will never again be as much obtainable oil as there was in the past – and therefore, never again will oil be as affordable as it once was. As oil reserves continue to be depleted, and new oil wells become scarcer and harder to tap, the price of oil will inevitably increase, until the resource becomes so scarce, so unaffordable, that the global economy is thrown into chaos.

oil refinery crop2 Collapse Review

“But what about alternative energy?” You ask, “Can’t we all just ‘Go Green?’” Well, according to Ruppert, with the exceptions of solar and wind power (which can’t yet yield enough energy in enough places), just developing an alternative energy source to run the world on would still require a huge investment of oil reserves (to power machinery, transport parts, etc.). Bottom line: modern civilization has dug itself so far into an oil-reliant lifestyle that we can’t just up and switch the game plan without getting over a whole bunch of hurdles.

Once the oil situation reaches a drastic point, the world economy – a system built on the prediction, not actuality, of plentiful resources and hard currency (gold) – will begin to buckle and ultimately crack. After that civilization as we know it goes down the drain, as basic services start to shut down, the “food industry” grinds to a halt, paper money becomes valueless and violence and civil unrest erupt.

The most frightening thing of all: according to Ruppert, the collapse has already begun.

I’m giving you the ultra-simplified version of things, of course. To his credit, Ruppert does a good job throughout the film of laying his argument out in terms the average person can understand. I kid you not when I say that (whether you believe it or not) this is a hard argument to ignore. After all, Ruppert is a man with a considerable resume. His parents’ work in government intelligence during WWII garnered him access to some of the America’s most classified secrets, while his work as a LA cop revealed government conspiracies that altered the face of urban civilization. Ruppert is a man who has been in a position to chart the societal map from top to bottom, so to speak.

Perfect example: Ruppert, still an LAPD officer, was at the forefront of exposing a huge scandal in the late 70s, in which the CIA was implicated in a drug trafficking operation that involved the mysterious deaths of several U.S. Soldiers who may have gotten too close to the truth. After retiring from the LAPD soon after the scandal (due to intimidation, death threats and even several attempts on his live), Ruppert went into investigative journalism, with the hope of continuing to expose corruption wherever he uncovered it. Following that thread ultimately led him into the web of worldwide energy conspiracies that are the basis of his doomsday theory. (You can read more of Ruppert’s personal history by going HERE.)

collapse movie image Collapse Review

It would be easy to write Michael Ruppert off as a nutcase if the man didn’t so clearly exhibit a God-given talent for investigative journalism: He is inquisitive, critical, thorough, hard-nosed, deductive and patient. He also comes off as pretty well-adjusted (although he might chain smoke too much) and also as someone who is, well, sane. During filming he stops at times to play with his dog, tells jokes, laughs at himself and seems to have a clear sense of how he is viewed in both positive and negative lights. He’s humble, calm, and even exhibits a strong compassion for both life and people, despite his many frustrations with both. Ruppert is also clearly a smart man: he knows his blueprint down to the smallest fact – as well he should. By his own account, he’s spent almost thirty years researching and piecing it all together.

That same old-school journalistic tenacity is also the one real weak point in his armor: it’s fair to say that Ruppert is obsessive about his collapse theory. He truly believes he is right, that disaster is only a year or two away, and he wants you to heed his warning. He claims that he is trying his damnedest to give people a heads up before “The Titanic” goes down – and, how you ultimately react to this film will largely depend on how you view this man and his motivations for what is either prophesying or fear-mongering, depending on how you choose to view it. One thing that is undeniable, though: Ruppert is an engaging orator; I hardly dared to blink while he was talking.

I urge you to see Collapse. It’s not really playing anywhere yet, but is available on Digital On Demand. The subject matter being discussed in this film far exceeds our usual debates over political or religious views, social or foreign policy, etc. At his core, Ruppert is a modern philosopher and what he’s saying is that no matter your faith, race, political or economic ideology, this impending collapse affects us all. The film doesn’t point fingers or bother with buzzword politics – Ruppert laughs at those petty notions. He isn’t here to debate sides or agendas; he’s saying that we will all suffer disaster if we continue to live by (and I’m paraphrasing this big time) ‘an impossible paradigm that demands infinite growth fueled by a finite resource.

burning oil platforms Collapse Review

Collapse is, in many ways, about the survival of our species – or at the very least, the survival of modern civilization. If certain changes aren’t made – to our very minds and hearts as human beings – then we, and our children, are apparently screwed. Or so says Michael Ruppert.

Does that sound dramatic? Does it sound alarmist and paranoid? Maybe. But watch Collapse, let the argument collide with the facts as you see them, and then tell me that you don’t sense, on some level, that Ruppert is speaking truth. Tell me that as you watched the film you didn’t feel the brink of a great collapse edging just a bit closer. Tell me that I’m wrong, that this guy is a nutcase and that I’ve wasted your time with all this.

Trust me, at this point, I’m praying that the naysayers are right.

Our Rating:

5 out of 5
(Masterpiece)

Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:
TAGS: 5 star movies, collapse

42 Comments

Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.


If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it.

  1. If society across the planet can stem all the flow through we can still have plenty of left over oil to do the things that can only done with oil. It would be pretty hard to estimate how much oil the planet can produce for any given time period. So its still about flow/time. Their are also some recycling technologies that might extend oil usage. We really could use that fusion break through about now. Maybe start seriously thinking about mining helium three on the moon to do the experimental work.

  2. We need to adapt. Take a look at this article The Great Transition: http://www.scribd.com/doc/21656220/The-Great-Transition-Navigating-Social-Economic-Ecological-Change-in-Turbulent-Times

  3. @thanrdale
    Based on what? If you watched the film, Ruppert discusses the potential of domestic oil, and makes a compelling point that it’s almost irrelevant whether we drill or not. And actually, I’d rather some alternatives to oil crop up if not for the simple notion that the oil corporations have too much control and power. The fact that solar and wind technologies are still in their “infancy” after 30+ years is proof of this.

    The “greatness” civilization before oil is highly debatable: The bigger point Ruppert makes is the fact that 6.5 Billion+ people would not survive an oil-less world. Not everyone would make it.

  4. @ Oldman

    We have to make it to the moon first!

    Yes, yes, I’m one of “those guys.”

    ;-)

  5. I think robotic surface capture could easily provide sufficient quantities for experimentation Koffi. The process here needs proven first. The calculations are impressive. Two shuttle bay loads would be all you would need for all U.S. electric needs for a year at near current use rates.

    I’m wondering too if we’ve really looked hard enough at Fission? Their are processes that use material that’s unusable as terror weapons and if nations would commit to manned research/storage at someplace’s like Yucca instead of bury and forget. It still might be viable but no one has done all the research. Pity an analysis can’t be done either whether it would make more sense to spend the billions we’re throwing down the Iraq/Afghan hole vs. research on viable fission? The urgency is as great as the original Manhattan project. Dare I say this is Manhattan II…

  6. It is a well narrated movie.The subject seems to be very innovative. I liked the basic idea of the film and it deserves 5 stars

  7. And what evidence do you have that Earth creates oil? Any articles or papers on that? Perhaps a video of a lecturer explaining the theory? Any sort of link or book to suggest?

    And if the planet continually creates oil (from the core, no less) then what exactly is it making it from? Magma?

  8. He is right for one thing. The oil is limited resource. The fuel replacement is the only option. The oil must be used ONLY for plastics, not for fuel. Otherwise the disaster is imminent.

  9. Wow, so many points its hard to know where to start..
    '..human civilization will survive, and will change and adapt per circumstances''

    The fall of civilization and man will come at least ion the non-third world areas once the supply of energy stops for all other services are dependent on energy. In my family, we have in 3 generations (from my grandfather to me) gone from being self-sufficient to totally dependent on provided services be they from private sector or government. When my grandfather was a young man, he could if necessary travel into any wild country area, somewhere where ther are no formal cities, and with his wife be self -sufficient, living off the land. I bet most of you can say the same about your grandparents and if not then no more the 1 generation back from them.

    If you think I'm crazy or just being 'doomsday paranoid' then lets take a look at the 3 basics for survival; Food; Shelter & clothing.

    SHELTER: The ability to construct/build homes and other various structures are solely the realm of the cheap laborer. The well educated engineer may know how to layout the design to build a home but would not know how to use a hammer to construct it. Just 2-3 generations ago our fathers and grandfathers were able to at least add onto a house if not build one and yet today, you can't even build a storage shed (assuming you know how to) without a lot of hurdle jumping thru various government regulations and home owner associations. If we had to fix or worse, build our own shelters, what kind of place would you be able to construct if sent out into the wild with nothing but the basics of a hammer and saw? Some of you may be able to do it but you would be in the very few.

    CLOTHING: The ability to provide for the basics of clothing thru the art of sewing and knitting (typically passed down from mother to daughter) are now the past times of mostly grandmothers with a very small number of adult females maintaining the art of sewing and most of those are professionally involved in it as seamstress or similar. My wife can make a simple dress or pants but that’s about it. If the flow of clothing to stores stopped and the existing supply of clothing ran out, does anyone really believe that the few people who know how to make clothing by hand would be able to provide clothes for all?

    This one is the one that will bring us all down:
    FOOD: The ability to hunt (typically passed down from father to son), the ability to farm (passed down from father/mother to son/daughter) and the ability to raise various live stock are now but stories of times past. No one (well almost no one) in any major city has any clue on the most basics of providing food for themselves should food services shut down. If all the Wal-Mart's and grocery stores stopped getting supplies and all the various eating places from McDonalds to the fancier restaurants also stopped getting their supplies, how long do you think it would take before food become scarce?

    This ability for self-survival has been carefully rooted out of our civilization and I don’t believe it was by mere chance. I'm not a conspiracy theorist but I do know that conspiracies are not fiction and that there has been a deliberate attempt to associate the term conspiracy with the worst of our civilization so as to discourage any serious thinking person from entertaining the idea that a conspiracy might be occurring. If you take a step back and compare where we are now verses were our grandparents were, over all we are worse off because we have placed our dependency for survival on those things we have no control over. We've allowed sneaky snake oil salesmen (called politicians) to convince us we need to give up many rights and freedoms so that the government could take over the role of protector and provider. This was OK so long as the government was at least partially honest and working as designed. Now that it is almost totally corrupt and so dug into every area of our life that we are at a tipping point as was pointed out in this film.

    If you honestly believe that the politicians, be they Republicans or Democrats honestly have our best interest at heart and are not going to eventually screw you over or your children then continue on the current path. For the rest of us we must work toward getting back control from the politicians who have been bought out by behind the scenes power brokers and we must also teach ourselves how, if need be, to survive on our own if the need should arise.

    One easy way to tell that there is something behind the scenes working towards our down fall is to look at all the obstacles in place now and being put in place to make it impossible for self survival; from the banning of home gardens to allowing people to have yard/garage sales without fear of some kind of negative reaction by some government agency.

  10. If this movie passes the debunking muster, I'll give it a shot just for the heck of it.

    More often than not, these conspiracy movies dont hold up after a few months of examination.

  11. thanks for the review, it was awesome. I'll definitely watch collapse later! Btw i saw the spy next door, and the villains in it develop a chemical which basically destroys oil, and they plan on destroying oil everywhere except in russia so they can become filthy rich since they will be the russians, and the only ones with oil. Though a chemical destroying all tat oil is retarded for sure, it slightly relates to the problem of oil depletion. And i do not kno the levels of oil left in the world, but its obvious that unless new technology is developed, we will definitely be screwed when the time comes. Inventions ftw!

  12. it was awesome… all i have to say is that even if this movie doesn't pique your interest… WATCH IT! it WILL impact you in some way.

  13. it was awesome… all i have to say is that even if this movie doesn't pique your interest… WATCH IT! it WILL impact you in some way.