Like Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth before it, Trashed is an earnest and vital eco-documentary that seeks to educate audiences on the escalating problem of waste and pollution. Oscar-winning actor Jeremy Irons — who also serves as co-producer — narrates and guides us through this globe-trotting trip across various spoiled sights, and he proves to be wonderful and occasionally eccentric company as he quizzes locals, scientists and experts on trash disposal and waste management (that’s him in the quirky hat above, describing a garbage-filled beach in Lebanon as “appalling”). Writer/director Candida Brady breaks down the issue into an easily-digestible four-part structure, examining the inherent problems with our main methods of garbage disposal (landfill, sea-dumping and incineration) and offering a few (rather minor) solutions during the epilogue, while Vangelis provides an appropriately doomy score. The interviews are comprehensive, informative and often revelatory, but they all end up supporting the zero waste argument to various degrees and the film could have done with some representation from key political and corporate interests for diversity’s sake. One particularly disturbing sequence finds Irons in a Vietnamese children’s hospital, where we witness the horrific long-term effects that Agent Orange has had, providing a cruel example of how dioxins are genetically handed down for generations. While it might not be the most ideal or even-handed analysis of this complicated problem, Trashed is undoubtedly a necessary wake-up call for our throwaway society, and Irons — lending a soothing, dignified presence to the chilling, meandering exploration — is just the man to deliver it.
Trashed is currently screening at the Documentary Edge Festival. For more information visit their website, and see the trailer below.