Most helpful critical review
23 of 35 people found the following review helpful
I found this movie frustrating to watch
on May 31, 2011
Why? Because it spreads simplifications and generalisations, which only make people confused about a very important but complex subject, which deserves so much more: a balanced and erudite exploration of reality! Without emotional honky-tonky, without one-sidedness, and definitely without the sentiment of "oooooh, the soil is so holy, we must all worship the soil", on which this movie spends an awful lot of time, time better spent on analysing problems and exploring solutions. Admittingly, the movie does put the mark on some serious problems and takes a peek at a variety of interesting "solutions", albeit pretty small-scaled ones which are in no way an answer to the big problems we face - big problems for which there ARE improvements/solutions, but which this movie fails to explore. Bad things aside, this movie díd made me reflect on whether we should take good, living soil for granted: it's actually pretty amazing!
One thing that stands out in "Dirt" is the tunnel-demonisation of modern large-scale farming with its monocultures. The movie doesn't provide a balanced story, with all the arguments, all the sides, the good and the bad. What it does provide is a disservice to the difficult and complex reality of farming.
Some examples of how "Dirt: the movie" tends to generalise and simplify:
The movie opens and ends with this quote: "Of the billions of planets in all the galaxies of the known universe, only one has a living, breathing skin, called dirt". Actually, as far as I know, the present knowledge is more like this: we don't know if there is another planet with life/soil, and since we haven't been able to check a lot of those billions of planets, we do not know.
"As we walk through the landscape, not only are the birds aware, and the bears, and all the other animals of this forest: all the microbes in the soil are aware of our presence." Oh, please.
Throughout the movie there is a woman (smiling ALL the time, which would be admirable - instead of irritating - if it weren't in this movie) who sais head-in-the-cloud-things like: "We are made of the same five basic elements that the earth is made of." Then there is this guy who tastes soil and sais "With the amount of species living in a teaspoon of dirt, I think it is very obvious that dirt might be more alive than we are." I myself was taught that our bodies are as well full of life, with billions of bacteria and stuff. I'm just saying...
[Natural resources are used] "for the benefit of a very small number of people". Do the makers of this movie not have electricity? A home with furniture? Water? Food? Clothes? Transportation? This reeks of conspiracy theories (a small business elite rules the world!!), which is smellable throughout the movie.
"In India alone [they target that] 600 million famers should disappear in an industrial model of farming" They say that like it would be a bad thing... Moving away from an agriculture society to a service society is a consequence of economic growth, and vastly improves the lives of many. In the West, only a few percent of the population still works in agriculture. That's why many people can pursue lifes as doctors, engineers, scientists, teachers, writers, dancers, actors, photographers,... instead of destroying their back while farming like papa.
"Famers around the world are comitting suicide." So vague, so easily said, so easily pulled out of context.
"In India, over the last decade, an estimated 200 000 farmers have killed themselves; many, by drinking the pesticide they can no longer afford." There is indeed a problem with farmers who kill themselves in India, but this oversimplified and selfserving statement is shamefull. For a wider perspective (not one-liners that have LITTLE to do with REALITY), read e.g. the Wikipedia article on farmers' suicides in india.
We live in the 21st century, which is characterised by an enormous amount and availability of information. I find it somewhat strange that bad analysis, misleading "facts", out-of-contexters, etc. still get airplay like this. The world will be a better place when that changes. Facts, clarity and vision: that is what we need when analysing problems and solutions. Not the manure this movie brings to the table. I don't eat that ****. And neither should you.