Normally speaking, I don't go out of my way to recommend a movie to you all. In fact, I have never mentioned a movie on this blog, although I watch quite a few. Regardless, today I'm stepping out a bit (and possibly stepping on a few toes) by suggesting that you stop reading this right now and watch Earthlings.
It's a documentary released in 2005 about the treatment and use of animals in modern society narrated entirely by Joaquin Phoenix. It has somewhat of an 'agenda' if that's what you want to pin it as, but I must say that you could easily watch the entire film on mute and it would still get the message across. Of course, I don't recommend muting it, as you would miss out on some astounding statistics. Be forewarned, it's filled with horrifying images of slaughterhouse conditions and procedures, animal shelters, fur and leather production facilities and the like.
I watched the first 20 minutes or so last weekend in Berlin and was happy to not watch the whole film in one sitting, as it is quite intense if you have any empathy for other living beings on this planet. It left me with a headache to say the least.
With all of that said, why would you even take the time to watch this documentary that may terrify you and leave you with a headache? Well, my argument lies in informing yourself and at least taking responsibility for the established system that we are all supporting by our everyday decisions. Furthermore, there is something about this film that gives animals a voice so to say, which is a challenging task. It's well made and required a lot of dirty work in the process. With that said, curiousity alone is probably the best argument for attracting viewers.
Earthlings doesn't suggest a solution, which I think works in it's favor. It's simplicity gives it more of an impact and leaves it up to the viewer to contemplate the next step.
You can easily find the full length version online for free. Watch the trailer here. (thanks youtube)
***Other documentaries worth watching: Zeitgeist: Moving Forward, Inside Job, Food, Inc., King Corn, The Business of Being Born and The Cove