Revenge of the Electric Car | Review
“Rebirth” Or “Integration” Seem More Fitting Than “Revenge”
In Who Killed The Electric Car?, Chris Paine navigates what seems like an industrial murder mystery that ultimately blames the implosion of the electric car on sketchy dealings between the US auto industry and oil companies while outlining the disheartening tale of the doomed General Motors EV1. Five years after his directing debut, Revenge Of The Electric Car finds Paine legally behind enemy lines to document the rebirth of the electric car as it is prepared for mass production. On the condition that none of the footage would be released until 2011, GM, Nissan and Telsa Motors allowed Paine and his crew behind the PR iron curtain to film the companies struggling to maneuver the rocky waters of the international economy while trying to reshape how the world travels.
Rather than tracking down the culprit of a crime against nature as was done in Who Killed…, Revenge is structured into a race between four competitors to see who will produce the first lucrative, market permeating electric car. Our competitors are – Bob Lutz, a likable cigar smoking GM executive who has gone from anti-EV to full fledged Volt supporter in record time – Elon Musk, the young Paypal creating billionaire who gambled his fortune as head of Telsa Motors â€“ Carlos Ghosn, the head of Nissan who launched the Leaf – Greg â€œGadgetâ€ Abbott, a one man operation who serves as a representative for the growing do-it-yourself electric car conversion culture. Each plays to a specific market while having lofty world changing ambitions, and all four put their money where their mind is, risking their entire companies on green dreams. If they fail, major economy supporting corporations could fall, but if they succeed, it will be the first major step in weening the world off of oil.
Paine’s task this time around is less warranted, but only slightly less interesting. His four pronged story is fluidly strung together, following each endeavor over the course of several years. All four subjects are charismatic, highly confident businessmen; perfect candidates for this style of doc, but their tales hold little weight. It was inevitable that, as the world becomes more concerned with its finite natural resources, electric vehicles would become a serious alternative to fossil fuels. What Revenge discloses is well packaged old news with magnetic spokesmen pitching us their newest products while admitting their simultaneous blunders. It’s a celebrity lined, critically endorsed origin story of the current wave of electric vehicles that is more entertaining than enlightening. And hey, Danny DeVito and Anthony Kiedis love these things, so you should to.