If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front (A Review)

January 25, 2011 : 8:38 pm | by Kate Oglesby

When a tree falls in the forest and no one is there, does it make a sound? Could that sound be the cheering of protestors or the crackling of fires? If a Tree Falls directed by Marshall Curry is a documentary that investigates the activities and history of the Environmental Liberation Front (E.L.F.) with Daniel McGowan as the medium. This thought provoking film makes us all gasp as our views on the environmental protection shifts from side to side in the rocky waters of truth. For me at least, this film not only highlights the E.L.F.’s troubles, but also echos the same frustrations many activists have felt in their own fields.

Daniel was an average kid with a business degree in the beginning. He could have been your brother or best friend, but somehow over the course of several years he would become labeled an eco-terrorist. This film uses his tale, his own personal journey, as a catalyst to look inside the complex story of the E.L.F. It is not the whole story or the only one out there. Yet it is a story that we all should see and listen to because it helps us to come to our own conclusion about the supposed eco-terrorism in America. This was the main goal of the director and his cinematographer. Together they worked to create this tale about the E.L.F. front and why they did what they did. The team poured five years into this film, and in the end I feel they have accomplished their jobs.

After watching this film, listening to the questions and answers, and listening to the buzz of the Redstone express after the film, I highly recommend this movie. It is full of information and emotion that forms a tale everyone can relate to. For some it connects to their want for a better world, for others it connects to the need for government change, and for still others it answers their unanswered questions. Though I must say as Director Marshall Curry says, this film will give you more questions than answers but that is what makes it so great.

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