AN INCOVENIENT TRUTH
**½/**** Image A- Sound B Extras B+
directed by Davis Guggenheim
WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR?
directed by Chris Paine
by Walter Chaw Spend much time mining the cultural divorce in these delightfully divided United States and you'll discover that the stereotypes governing our perceptions of either side (bellicose vs. pussified) tend to be by and large accurate. Given the choice between violent and dogmatic or simpering and equivocal, the American electorate has erred badly on the side of a unified message, no matter how dangerous--and who can blame them? I mean, shit, whatever the leadership qualities, Custer didn't die alone. The mess of our national politics (and the mess that it's made of our standing in the international community) inevitably must inspire a spate of left-wing documentaries and, judging by last year's Clooney-fest, a handful of well-intentioned (if simpering and scattershot) partisan fictions. It's a strange world out there, and in it find Al Gore (did he lose office to a coup d'état?) as the breakthrough star of the non-fiction summer, following the path ploughed by Michael Moore and Penguins before him. It's not strange because he's uncharismatic; it's strange because in An Inconvenient Truth, he's both charismatic and on-topic. He's become that rarest of beasts: a democrat in the public eye who's not afraid to make strong statements and take his shots at obvious targets without indulging in self-abnegating ambiguities.