Documentary – A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash

If you are an enthusiast of great documentaries, you may have noticed that recently, a significant number of documentaries have pretty disturbing things to say regarding the state of the universe. What’s more, all these documentaries seem to be backed up by thoroughly researched and convincing communicating one message: Soon life as we know it will become terrible due to the current chaotic state of the world.

So, while we reel from Al Gore hitting deep on global warming’s inconvenient truth, here come two filmmakers from Europe making us enlightened about the earth’s diminishing oil reserves and all the repercussions associated with it — from its connection with war and politics to the varieties of ways in which we depend on oil and it’s by-products.

A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash is a bitter pill of a film that Ray McCormack and Basil Gelpke strategically pretend to sugar coat, just like Al Gore did. There are bits of animation and beautiful retro TV Ads, as well as much attention-grabbing iconic imagery associated with oil, its consumption, and its producers: sand dunes in the Middle East, seemingly endless shots of fuel-guzzling airplanes taking off and busy motorways, those giant steel dinosaurs across the landscape of the United States…you get the idea. However the filmmakers are not joking about anybody, and they know it. They have an abundance of knowledge they would like to get across. Given the amount of detail, the filmmakers do a pretty good job to ensure the documentary is comprehensible. They begin by explaining what oil is and showing how boomtowns have turned into ghost towns from Azerbaijan to Texas. There is an early swipe at the United States Government — how oil fields in Iraq were secured but no weapons of mass destruction were acquired — however, that is only one corner of a broad canvas. More important, is Dr. Hubbert, the person who in the 1950s predicted that this would happen, only for people to laugh at him and for him to lose his profession.

The challenges foreseen by Dr. Hubbert are compounded at every turn of the documentary. There is an unprecedented need for oil among developing nations, also there is no source of alternative source of energy that is as effective as oil. What’s more no voter would be willing to support a truthful politician that might help bring change, because the truth involves the probability of depression worse than that experienced in the 1930s and extremely high petrol prices.

Informing us about this and much more are various people who know their stuff from the former oil industry magnates to academics, scientists, as well as other individuals with political interests. Most of these individuals are uneasy about what they are saying and it’s no surprise that nobody has a solution. To make things a little more clear, Caltech’s David Goodstein mentions one of his students who asked whether his grandchildren would ever have the opportunity to ride in an airplane, to which Goodstein answered probably not.