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If a Tree Falls2011

A Story of the Earth Liberation Front

  • 3.9
On December 7th, 2005, federal agents conducted a nationwide sweep of radical environmentalists involved with the Earth Liberation Front, an organization the FBI has called America's "number one domestic terrorism threat." IF A TREE FALLS: A STORY OF THE EARTH LIBERATION FRONT is the remarkable story of the group's rise and fall, told through the transformation and radicalization of one of its members, Daniel McGowan. Part coming-of-age tale, part cops-and-robbers thriller, the film interweaves a chronicle of McGowan facing life in prison with a dramatic investigation of the events that led to his involvement with the ELF. Using never-before-seen archival footage and intimate interviews (with cell members and with the prosecutor and detective who were chasing them) IF A TREE FALLS asks hard questions about environmentalism, activism and the way we define terrorism. Nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 2012 Academy Awards®.

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2 members like this review

If a Tree Falls is an impressive American tragedy documenting extreme rigidity of environmental idealism clashing head on with extreme property rights, each side unable to find any basis for dialogue or accommodation. Set in the last old growth forests of the U.S. northwest towards the end of the first decade of the current century, it documents the limitations of terrorist tactics as a political ploy — what falls out when extreme behaviour meets equally extreme righteousness. A visually beautiful film, well worth 85 minutes of your time. Sobering.

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top reviewer

Member Reviews (3)

182560.small
top reviewer

If a Tree Falls is an impressive American tragedy documenting extreme rigidity of environmental idealism clashing head on with extreme property rights, each side unable to find any basis for dialogue or accommodation. Set in the last old growth forests of the U.S. northwest towards the end of the first decade of the current century, it documents the limitations of terrorist tactics as a political ploy — what falls out when extreme behaviour meets equally extreme righteousness. A visually beautiful film, well worth 85 minutes of your time. Sobering.

2 members like this review
187987.small
top reviewer

Pretty good documentary about a radical group. Unless you've been living in a cave when all this went down, you know at least a little about this group. Worth watching, simply for the contrasting view points of both sides.

Great equal representation of different views.