Linda Cook review: ‘The Story of Plastic’ is a different kind of horror movie

Local News

“The Story of Plastic” will be shown Sunday at the Figge Art Museum, Davenport.

This is the most horrifying film you’ll see in this season of Halloween. Or possibly any other season.

“The Story of Plastic,” the next documentary in the QC Environmental Film Series, is a grim, disturbing look at how and why plastic is produced, and its effects on the very people who use it.

The movie, told from the perspectives of activists, recyclers, and people who live surrounded by plastic pollution, involves talking-head interviews, clever animations and jarring statistics. Including this one: More than half the plastic that ever existed was produced over the past 15 years.

Single-use plastic has created a crisis throughout much of the world. Director Deia Schlosberg doesn’t pull back the camera when it comes to the mounds of plastic refuse heaped around rivers, homes and in our waters.

It began, seemingly, in such an innocent, forward-thinking way. We watch archival commercials and see ads from the 1950s and 1960s about the wonders of plastic and how it will make our lives easier. From the Philippines, to Texas, India and China and elsewhere around the world, we see people who remember unpolluted lands and waters. Sometimes, these memories are only 10-15 years old.

We also learn about how plastid production is linked to the petroleum industry and fracking. We also learn – and this really surprised me, because I’m a recycler myself – why plastic really isn’t recyclable.

The movie is by Outcast Films, a film distribution company focused on environmental and social-justice issue films. “The Story of Plastic” has earned numerous awards, including an Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in a Craft in News and Documentary Programming.

Although this isn’t who most people would consider to be a horror movie, there’s a monster at the core of this film. We are that monster. This movie is a must-see.

4 stars

Unrated.

Running time: One hour and 35 minutes.

The QC Environmental Film Series, which continues Sunday, is presented by the Joyce and Tony Singh Family Foundation, River Action and Nahant Marsh.

Admission is $5. “The Story of Plastic” will be shown at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Figge Art Museum, 225 W. 2nd St., Davenport.

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