Linda Cook review: ‘the Story of Plastic’ is a different horror movie


This is the most horrible movie you will see this Halloween season. Or maybe any other season.

“The History of Plastic,” the next documentary in the QC Environmental Film series, is a dark and disturbing look at how and why plastic is produced, and its effects on the very people who use it.

The film, told from the perspectives of activists, recyclers and people who live surrounded by plastic pollution, involves talking heads interviews, clever animation and shocking statistics. Including this one: more than half of the plastic that has ever existed has been produced in the past 15 years.

Single-use plastic has created a crisis in much of the world. Director Deia Schlosberg doesn’t back down when it comes to the mounds of plastic waste piled up around rivers, homes and in our waters.

It started out, apparently, in such an innocent and avant-garde way. We watch archival advertisements and see advertisements from the 1950s and 1960s about the wonders of plastic and how it will make our lives easier. From the Philippines, Texas, India, China, and around the world, we see people remembering unpolluted land and water. Sometimes these memories are only 10-15 years old.

We also learn how plastid production relates to the petroleum industry and hydraulic fracturing. We’re also learning – and this really surprised me, because I’m a recycler myself – why plastic really isn’t recyclable.

The film was produced by Outcast Films, a film distribution company specializing in environmental and social justice films. “The History of Plastic” has won numerous awards, including an Emmy Award for outstanding achievement in a trade in news and documentary programming.

While it’s not what most people would consider a horror movie, there is a monster at the heart of this movie. We are that monster. This film is a must see.

4 stars


Duration: one hour and 35 minutes.

The QC environmental film series, which continues on Sunday, is presented by the Joyce and Tony Singh Family Foundation, River Action and Nahant Marsh.

Admission is $ 5. “The Story of Plastic” will be presented Sunday at 2 pm at the Figge Art Museum, 225 W. 2sd St., Davenport.

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