Read before you download: What the critics said about PUMP

PUMP hit theaters around the country in September, and now it’s about to hit the digital landscape.

You can download it on iTunes now. You can watch the trailer, and learn more about the film and the experts who made it such a success, at PumpTheMovie.com

PUMP was a hit with the public and the critics: On Rotten Tomatoes, 85 percent of viewers said they liked the film, while 73 percent of critics gave favorable reviews.

You should do yourself a favor and read some of these reviews yourself, though: The critics who saw PUMP had very nuanced, well-thought-out views, giving the important issues raised in the film the proper weight.

Below are excerpts from some of the bigger media outlets that reviewed the film. Read all about it, then watch the film and tell us what you think!

The Washington Post:

” … the movie makes compelling points. More important, the film suggests both long-term and short-term solutions.

“… if consumers hate oil so much, why aren’t there more readily available alternatives?

“That’s the question the documentary keeps circling back to, which is a smart approach because it’s aimed at appealing to both eco-conscious liberals and fiscal conservatives.”

The New York Times:
“… the arguments have an appealing logic for those concerned about the environment.

“… the movie goes beyond alarmism with solutions that on the surface would seem to find common ground between environmental advocacy and unfettered capitalism.”

The Hollywood Reporter:
“The historical overview they provide is insightful and lucid … The headline is that most cars on today’s roads could easily run on non-petroleum fuels that are cheaper, cleaner and more plentiful than gasoline. At the heart of the doc is ultra-practical information with the potential to galvanize a broad audience.

“Their thesis transcends red-state/blue-state polarities.

“The shift from quiet how-we-got-here outrage to hope, in the form of hands-on specifics, torques Pump and gives it momentum.

“… the eye-opener is that millions of American vehicles are already equipped to switch between gas and ethanol.

“Pump offers a map to true competition à la Brazil’s, and argues convincingly that there would be profound and wide-ranging benefits if American car owners were in the driver’s seat.”

The Los Angeles Times:
“Viewers of ’60 Minutes’ will experience déjà vu during vignettes on Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors and Brazil’s exemplary national conversion to ethanol, but ‘Pump’ ventures a step further to explore the practicality of flex-fuel vehicles in this country and methanol as another fuel alternative.

“As far as documentaries go, the film is exhaustively researched, interviewed and documented. Its disclosure that General Motors declined multiple interview requests earns the film some credibility where other advocacy docs fall short. It arms advocates with plenty of well-reasoned and compelling talking points …”

Variety:
“This zippily edited docu aims less to chastise than to emphasize that solutions to our oil addiction and much-vaunted desire for energy independence are tantalizingly close at hand.

“For unabashed agitprop, ‘Pump’ is quite entertaining, drawing together colorful archival footage, interviewed experts and ordinary folk, as well as sojourns to China (in the wake of its economic boom now the world’s largest market for cars) and Brazil (whose shift to ethanol production brought prosperous energy dependence), in a lively, professional package.”

The Oregonian:

“The most convincing testimony comes from John Hofmeister, a former president of Shell Oil who has switched sides. But the real stars of ‘Pump’ are the hackers and engineers who’ve devised cheap and easy ways to convert vehicles to flex-fuel capability.

“The inability of our capitalist economy to exploit this untapped market is puzzling until the filmmakers get to the part about the massive political donations made by Big Oil. Switching from gasoline to a cheaper, more environmentally friendly, domestically available fuel won’t address the other negative consequences of car culture — urban sprawl, traffic congestion, increased obesity — and neither does the film. But by pointing out simple things that could make huge differences, it’s a solid first step.”

Bloomberg BusinessWeek:
“This is the second feature about ending America’s dependence on oil from the wife-husband team of Rebecca Harrell Tickell and Josh Tickell. They’re tub-thumpers, but not shrill. Their thrust is roughly that cars = freedom. Americans love their freedom, and they sure do love their cars. Yet strangely, car- and freedom-loving Americans lack freedom of choice when it comes to what their cars run on. What gives? Oil is far from the best fuel for an automobile—not even close, if you factor in extraction costs, energy security, and pollution.

“Determined not to dwell on the negative, Pump introduces us to hobbyists, entrepreneurs, and even indie service station owners already making the break from petroleum.”

Village Voice:
“A car’s high beams trace slow-motion lightning across the highway. An auto worker in suspenders strides the factory floor. These seductive images of the American automotive industry act as dreamy parentheses to Josh and Rebecca Tickell’s compelling and cogent documentary Pump, which examines why Americans are so lacking in options at the gas station, what that means about the future of transportation and environmental health, and why the oil-driven American Dream must die — why it is dying.

“By carefully tracing the history of the oil companies’ legislative and consumer power and influence, the directors explore America’s issue of substance dependence, and indict the companies that act as enablers. If you’re not convinced we’re addicted, ask yourself if you could quit at any time.”

Reuters’ Breakingviews:
“A narrow focus helps “Pump” make its point clearly. The filmmakers don’t take on global warming or automobiles. Their solution is simple and straightforward: introduce competition at the gas station and let the invisible hand do the rest.

“Demand for alternatives, including electric vehicles from Elon Musk’s Tesla, is … growing alongside a crude backlash. On Monday, for example, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, an $860 million philanthropic organization that owes its existence to the Standard Oil fortune, said it would divest from fossil fuels. The collective effect of all these efforts, including the message from ‘Pump,’ may just help fuel a trend.”

The Source magazine:
” ‘Pump’ makes clear one thing: oil is used in everything, from clothing to furniture, plastics to medicine and, yes, even engines to power cars. And increased demand leads to, you guessed, higher prices. ‘Pump’ explores this in a holistic, appreciative and thoughtful way.

‘Pump’ explores a range of alternative fuels including ethanol, methanol, natural gas among others, but never suggests humanity stop driving cars altogether. It would be a major technological step backward, damaging decades of effort. Instead, ‘Pump’ offers reasonable, grassroots-style progress that enables anyone to make a sustainable change.”

Cinemacy:
http://cinemacy.com/pump/

“One thing was made clear to me, we have a right to choose how we fuel our cars and that right is not being acknowledged by the government or big oil companies, which means the responsibility for change lays solely on us.

“The unpredictable cost of fuel, coupled with the damaging effects to our environment and our dependency to over-seas oil rigs is a scary future that we find ourselves looking at today. We are forced into limited choices at the pump, which only creates a stronger foreign dependency and a wealthier fuel monopoly. The message Pump presents, once you get past the numbers game, is simple: American made replacement fuels will equal more jobs, a healthier environment, and a stimulated, growing economy.”

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