Film Reviews

How the Bastards Win: A Greedy Lying Bastards Review

We can speak of climate change with a fair amount of certitude: shrinking Arctic ice cover, rising global temperatures and increased frequency of extreme weather events. Most of us acknowledge that things are getting worse faster than previously predicted, and that human-caused greenhouse gas emissions have likely played a major role in this. Most of us, but not all.

Craig Rosebraugh's documentary Greedy Lying Bastards shines a harsh light on the lengths the energy industry continues to go to in order to head off climate-related legislation — and assure the public there's nothing wrong with continuing to rely on fossil fuels. Billionaire climate-change deniers (Koch Industries, ExxonMobil) funnel huge amounts of money to both "Astroturf" (fake grassroots) organizations and — thanks to the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision — like-minded politicians, who take office and immediately move to dismantle environmental regulations.

Catastrophes like Hurricane Sandy or the 2011 drought have become depressingly commonplace, but Rosebraugh emphasizes a less dramatic but nonetheless sobering problem: forced relocation due to climate change. The homes of both Kivalina, Alaska, and the Tuvalu people of the South Pacific are threatened by rising oceans, and their plight is the canary in the coal mine for coastal communities across the globe. It's too bad that Rosebraugh himself can be so off-putting. The data presented is horrifying enough without sarcastic narration, or his Roger & Me-style pursuit of an interview with ExxonMobil Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson. At least this time around there's no rabbit lady.

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Pete Vonder Haar is a regular film contributor at Voice Media Group. VMG publications include Denver Westword, Miami New Times, Phoenix New Times, Dallas Observer, Houston Press and New Times Broward-Palm Beach.

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