Release Date: January 31st, 2007 (IFC Center) by IFC First Take.
Directed by Henriette Mantel and Steve Skrovan.
BASIC PREMISE: A documentary about the highs and lows of Ralph Naderís career in politics.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: An Unreasonable Man provides a comprehensive history of Ralph Naderís involvement in politics from the 1960ís when his book Unsafe at Any Speed , about the poor safety of automobiles, made him become famous until the 2004 elections when he lost most of his friends and allies. Co-directors Henriette Mantel and Steve Skrovan do a decent job of incorporating interviews and news footage to paint a picture of what went on during those years which led to Naderís lowest point in 2004. Nader wanted to be different from the Democrats and Republicans by focusing on the environment and felt concerned about the welfare of consumers. Whatís interesting about his personal life is that he doesnít really have much of one because he works so hardóhe never even mentions any love interests in his life because he has always been married to his work, so-to-speak. He seems quite focused and intriguing during interviews and public speeches, but mainly before the 2000 elections when many people claimed that, by including himself in the presidential race as the Green Party, he took away Democratic votes that would have made Al Gore win instead of George W. Bush. When friends and allies no longer support him, he looses his focus and gets angry yet still manages to carry on with his political activism. For those who donít know much about Nader, his strengths or his weaknesses, this 122-minute documentary will be quite fascinating. However, for everyone else, Mantel and Skrovan donít analyze or synthesize his strengths and weaknesses enough to make this truly compelling.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: Itís somewhat inspiring how Naderís courage allows him to go on with his political activism as an underdog who faced the Democrats and Republicans. He has made mistakes, just like any fallible human does, and clearly has issues with people leaving his Green Party, yet he doesnít give up.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Not enough synthesis of Naderís strengths and weaknesses.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 2
IN A NUTSHELL: Mildly fascinating and comprehensive, but not compelling enough.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: DVD
The "U" Menu