Collapse with Michael Ruppert – a Survival Film Review

Have you seen the film Collapse? I just watched it for the first time. If you haven’t seen it, in a nutshell, it’s a soliloquy/interview of sorts where Michael Ruppert, a former LA police detective and investigative reporter, discusses the worlds dependency on energy and how we are inevitably heading toward some type of collapse. It’s a great prepper flick that will get your mind turning, particularly if you’re new to some of the concepts he presents, and it could be a particularly useful movie for those that want to get their “so you didn’t marry a survivalist” spouses thinking about preparedness.

The film opens with the following text:

Earlier this year, while doing research for a screenplay about CIA involvement in drug smuggling during the 1980’s, we arranged for an interview with a whistle blower by the name of Michael Ruppert.

We soon discovered that Ruppert had little interest in talking about drug smuggling. He had other things on his mind.

Ruppert became interested in Peak Oil soon after 9/11. He begins by painting a picture of modern society’s dependency on oil. All plastic, paints, pesticides, virtually everything we consume, all created with oil.

The world has been thoroughly searched for oil over the last 120 years, he says, and there is no easily recoverable oil left. If Saudi Arabia has so many reserves, he argues, why are they moving into offshore drilling? Peak Oil isn’t a new concept to me and it probably isn’t to many readers here, but he presented a thought that caught my attention: what happens if there’s a revolution in Saudi Arabia with 25% of the world’s oil? What happens if the country collapses into anarchy and their oil doesn’t flow? This is particularly timely given the unrest in the Middle-East following the Egyptian riots and upheaval.

Ethanol is an “absolute joke,” he says, because it takes more energy to produce ethanol than what you get from it. He describes in simple terms the process of deriving oil from tar sands in Alberta, strip mining, massive use of water and natural gas to process it. He debunks electric cars as being the savior, the notion of “clean” coal, the problems with nuclear energy and the limits of renewable sun and wind power.

He describes our entire economy as a pyramid scheme, because it depends on infinite growth, which is dependent on infinite energy. He explains the basic principles of derivatives and the potential for collapse that derivatives enable, but I think he oversimplifies the complexity of the monetary system and only presents the perspective he wants to discuss.

He builds his credibility on “connecting dots” from mainstream media (as images of SHTF news stories flash across the screen), but later in the film he says he doesn’t trust mainstream media.

He describes our food production system as: sucking nutrients out of soil. For much of history plant matter was used to replenish the soil with crop rotation; and we have come disconnected from that. Top soil now, he correctly states, is a sponge that sucks up chemical fertilizers that we pour on it and once you stop pouring those chemicals on it, the soil is worthless.

He shows the graph of the human population, and points to where population growth took off, the same time that oil began getting used on a regular basis. He makes the argument that when our use of oil decreases due to supply, population will decrease accordingly. There are 3 types of people, he says, and he uses a Titanic analogy. When the Titanic is about to sink, these are the 3 types of people:

  1. “Deer in the Headlights – I don’t know what to do”
  2. “We get that the ship will sink, how do we make a lifeboat?”
  3. “This is the Titanic, it won’t sink. I’m going back to the bar.”

He asks, “If you are a life boat builder, which group are you going to help?”

The editor asks him: “Are you discounting man’s ability to adapt and improvise?”

He responds by saying that he is gifted in critical thinking and that no level of human ingenuity can overcome the laws of science. “We can’t turn into God and revoke the laws of the universe.”

Yet he ends on a contradictory note, saying the only thing we can change is our minds, that we have to believe there is a way out of this and uses the 100th monkey effect as an example (questionable science).

The film has a slight propaganda feel to it, and I believe the argument he presents is not the only argument, but he presents strong points. The film is 120 minutes long so it manageable and fast. It has its shortcomings, but I think it’s worth watching.

– Ranger Man

BTW: Here is the film trailer (direct YouTube link):

9 comments… add one
  • Presager Buddy March 15, 2011, 8:26 am

    I see the DVD is available on Amazon. Thanks for the review.

  • Anonymous March 15, 2011, 10:33 am

    it also is available streaming on netflix. i happened to watch it a month or two ago.

    it was not what i expected (not that i knew much about it) i did not agree so much with the big focus on peak oil being the cause of collapse – but overall was interesting to watch just the same.

    • Jason March 16, 2011, 1:21 am

      Great tip, I’m going to Netflix it now ~

  • ChefBear58 March 15, 2011, 1:21 pm

    This guy is on a show called “Prophets of Doom” which aired on the history channel a while back. He makes similar arguments on the show, but there were other “experts” on the show which seemed to make more sense than him, in my opinion.

  • Spook45 March 15, 2011, 1:52 pm

    I want to see this one, and Atlas Shrugged and of coarse I have to See PAUL! That ones gonna be hilarious!

  • GoneWithTheWind March 15, 2011, 4:45 pm

    I pretty much agree with a few exceptions:
    1)Coal is a great source of power and we have plenty of it. We will burn it, make no mistake about that. The only question is will we decide to burn it to save our economy or sometime after our economy is destroyed?
    2)We have a lot of natural gas and it too is a great energy source. My local gas company ran all their trucks and cars on NG way back in the 60’s.
    3)We have a lot of oil in the U.S. Not as much as we have coal and NG but we have a lot of it. We need to conserve it and dril for it.
    4)We have a lot of potential hydro-power that we could tap. We could build more major dams and litereally thousands of small to micro hydro-power generation systems.

    • ChefBear58 March 15, 2011, 10:37 pm

      Coal can also be made into artificial gasoline, the Germans did it in WWII to overcome their lack of domestic oil and weakened monetary system from WWI (which made it difficult to get foreign oil).

  • Jason March 16, 2011, 1:18 am

    I have not seen the movie so I cannot comment but the trailer looks fascinating & Ranger you hit the nail on the head in your third sentence – it is a great prepper flick.

    • Jason March 16, 2011, 12:46 pm

      Watched the film last night & read most of his book – Crossing the Rubicon last night as well. I found the content of SHTF information pretty straightforward, my experience of him was disturbing.

      Thank you Ranger for the suggestion, it was a very thought provoking film with lots of emotional textures.

      I agree with the film director’s assessment of Michael Ruppert:

      “(Chris) Smith himself, speaking at the Toronto International Film Festival premiere, said that ‘What I hoped to reveal was … that his obsession with the collapse of industrial civilization has led to the collapse of his life. In the end, it is a character study about his obsession.'”

      Chris Smith is a bright guy but by focusing upon Ruppert’s presentation & seeming mental instability, he missed the “prophetic” content of his message, in my opinion.

      However, I too agree with Roger Ebert’s review:

      Is Ruppert right or is he a madman? The information very strongly suggests that he’s clearly right and his presentation & skewed personal life had me thinking he was a lunatic.

      He said a few things that were a bit strange like “the iceberg hit the Titanic” and got me wondering if that was intentional with a deeper meaning or metaphor.

      I think there is a very fine line between his expressed gifts which I believe he has & being a complete, shopping cart pushing crazy person. What an excellent dichotomy!

      His 100 monkey theory/story is a bit extraneous but why allow that to create a distraction to the balance of his vast research?

      All I can say is – WOW.

      Great job Ranger!


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