The Reluctant Radical follows activist Ken Ward as he confronts his fears and puts himself in the direct path of the fossil fuel industry to combat climate change. Ken breaks the law as a last resort, to fulfill what he sees as his personal obligation to future generations. After twenty years leading environmental organizations, Ken became increasingly alarmed by both the scientific evidence of climate change and the repercussions for civilization as we know it. Ken pushed for a crisis level response from inside environmental organizations. Those efforts failed, and he now embraces direct action civil disobedience as the most effective political tool to deal with catastrophic circumstances. The Reluctant Radical follows Ken for a year and a half through a series of direct actions, culminating with his participation in the coordinated action that shut down all the U.S. tar sands oil pipelines on October 11, 2016. The film reveals both the personal costs and also the fulfillment that comes from following one’s moral calling- even if that means breaking the law. Ken Ward has no regrets, and his certainty leaves the audience to consider if he is out of touch with reality, or if it is the rest of society that is delusional for not acting when faced with the unsettling evidence that we are collectively destroying our world. -This is the official film description on RottenTomatoes.com Image source above: CollectiveEye.org
Image Source: RottenTomatoes.com
Movie reviews of The Reluctant Radical documentary
“The Reluctant Radical is about one man’s courage and conviction confronting climate change; beautifully told with insight and honesty. This is what true patriotism looks like.” – Peter Cornelison, Co-convener Columbia Gorge Climate Action Network
“A film that is both a vivid portrait of an activist and an addictive suspense thriller—a Hitchcockian riff on An Inconvenient Truth….The Reluctant Radical unleashes waves of conflicted feelings. It takes you from the tension-soaked high of watching Ward snap a chain with bolt cutters to eerily intimate moments in which we see the emotional toll his grim quest exacts on his girlfriend, Laura Byerly, and his son, Eli.” – The Willamette Week
“Nothing, not a broken oar or a padlocked chain or a 9,000-ton Finnish icebreaker, can stop Ken Ward from trying to protect his son, and the world….Grayzel wants us to ponder whether this one-man mission to save the world makes Ward a radical. “Yes” is too easy an answer, and the wrong one if you ask Ward. He has to stop climate change at any cost. His every action is one of common sense. Maybe we’re the crazy ones.” – The Missoulian Independent
Review by Rachel Avalon
The Reluctant Radical is an award-winning documentary directed by Lindsey Grayzel that follows the bold environmental activism of Ken Ward. It is a stark reminder that if more people adopted a sustainable lifestyle and pushed for clean energy and sustainable policies, activists like Ward (or other members of Extinction Rebellion) wouldn’t need to make the kind of personal sacrifices depicted in the film. It also prompts the poignant question, “What is radical?” when the mounting consequences of inaction are deadly. Overall, The Reluctant Radical serves as a wake-up call to the urgency of addressing climate change before its too late and the incredible power of civil disobedience.
Watch the movie trailer here.
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