In 1966 General Motors the most powerful corporation in the world sent private investigators to dig up dirt on an obscure thirty-two year old public interest lawyer named Ralph Nader who had written a book critical of one of their cars the Corvair. The scandal that ensued after the smear campaign was revealed launched Ralph Nader into national prominence and established him as one of the most admired Americans and the leader of the modern Consumer Movement. Over the next thirty years and without ever holding public office Nader built a legislative record that is the rival of any contemporary president. Many things we take for granted including seat belts airbags product labeling no nukes even the free ticket you get after being bumped from an overbooked flight are largely due to the efforts of Ralph Nader and his citizen groups. Yet today when most people hear the name "Ralph Nader" they think of the man who gave the country George W. Bush. As a result after sustaining his popularity and effectiveness over an unprecedented amount of time he has become a pariah even among former friends and allies. How did this happen? Is he really to blame for George W. Bush? Who has stuck by him and who has abandoned him? Has our democracy become a consumer fraud? After being so right for so many years how did he seem to go so wrong? With the help of exciting graphics rare archival footage and over forty on-camera interviews conducted over the past two years "An Unreasonable Man" traces the life and career of Ralph Nader one of the most unique important and controversial political figures of the past half century. System Requirements:Running Time: 122 minutesFormat: DVD MOVIE Genre: DOCUMENTARIES/MISC. Rating: NR UPC: 796019801690 Manufacturer No: 80169
This is my first review. I always read a lot of review before buying books, but I don't take the time to write about my own experience. This is a great documentary, featuring an incredible man. If you already know him, this will show you more of what you already know is great.
If you don't know Ralph Nader, you need to watch this, and read the book «No Contest» (if you're interested in lawyers).
I don't know why it's so expensive though. If you donate 100$ to Public Citizen, one of his organization, they will give you this DVD for free, along another DVD and a lot of stuff. Public Citizen, great organization, along with Citizen Works.
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
A Fair Portrait of a Controversial ActivistFeb. 26 2007
- Published on Amazon.com
"An Unreasonable Man" is not a pejorative description in the context of this film. One is reminded that the qualities that make an activist effective, are the same qualities of persistence and refusal to compromise that make such a person infuriating in other circumstances.
Although the first half of the documentary is devoted to Nader's rise as the country's premiere consumer advocate, the crux of the film is Nader's controversial presidential candidacy in 2000 and the personal, public and political ramifications of his decision to continue the race knowing that he may cost liberals a victory of the (arguably) more palatable candidate.
Unlike the reviewer below, I did not see in the film any agenda to trash Nader for running for president. When the movie moves its focus to Nader's effect on the 2000 election and whether he should have run under the circumstances, both sides of the argument get a fair airing. In fact, if anything, I felt the movie makers were inclined to the pro-Nader perspective--that for the politics of corruption to stop, a principled stand must be taken.
Regardless of the side of the debate one might take, the filmmakers did a an admirable job of showing through historical perspective why Nader ran, and why he was unapologetic about staying in the race. His personal history, from his experience with the Carter administration, the debate debacle, and his basic uncompromising personality and dogged pursuit of his goals, illuminate the motivations behind the 2000 Nader candidacy.
Although the filmmakers obviously hold Nader in high esteem, particularly for his crusades on behalf of consumers, this is a documentary in the true sense of the word--it is not a propaganda film, it it does not beat you over the head with the filmmakers' views. While, it is sympathetic to Nader's political positions and would not be considered "balanced" by a hardcore Republican, this is not a Michael Moore type of opus to any particular position. It is an expository film that raises but does not resolve the issue that alienated so many former Nader supporters.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
All Progress Depends on the Unreasonable ManNov. 26 2007
Bryan A. Pfleeger
- Published on Amazon.com
As a plaintiff's attorney I have always been fascinated with the career of citizen advocate Ralph Nader. He has been involved in the creation of some of the most important legislation of the 20th Century: the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Freedom of Information Act, the Highway Safety Act and on and on. He has been the protector of citizens and consumers with the push for mine safety, safe foods, airbags and seatbelts. It is a shame that his legacy has been tarnished by two unsuccessful runs for President in which he has been called a spoiler by the Democratic Party. If anything Nader always worked within the Democratic arena.
Henriette Mantel and Steve Skrovan's documentary chronicles the life and career of Nader. It is a film that attempts to present a balanced view of the man's life by presenting interviews with both friends and foes. If there is an issue it seems to be that the film makes its character a little too heroic but this is a minor flaw.
The first part of the film deals with the consumer protection work Nader did in his golden years at Dupont Circle. We view a young Nader as he goes after and wins battles with General Motors on auto safety. We witness the drive and idealism of Nader's Raiders as they take on the corporate giants.
The second half of the film starts with the infamous theory that there is not a dime's worth of difference between the modern Republican and Democratic Parties. If there is to be a change in the country for the better it must come from within the democratic process. This part of the film tells of the two failed runs for president and gives itself over to opinions of whether Nader did what he dis for the good of the counrty or whether he simply acted as an election spoiler costing Al Gore the Presidency.
The film allows the viewer to make his or her own choices concerning his legacy and hid role as an unlikely hero.
This is a well made and thought provoking documentary that is well worth a look.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Nader is Still a Raider!Nov. 7 2007
- Published on Amazon.com
Magnificent documentary about the legendary consumer advocate. A must for your people, who won't know about Ralph Nader if all they've been exposed to is corporate-controlled news and corporate school textbooks. Great extras on Disc 2 explore America's crazy electoral process and how the most qualified candidate in US history - in fact, Nader was overqualified! - was scapegoated by the Democrats and labeled a "spoiler." Are the Democrat and Republican parties the true spoilers, happily handing over the public's interests over to corrupt corporations? Is it a surprise that they try to marginalize America's top corporate crime buster?
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
More amazing than science fictionAug. 5 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
I used to think corporations were run by men who rose through the ranks on merit. I thought our big corporations were run by the best and the brightest our country had to offer. Then came the disasters at Enron and WorldCom. Now we have a sub-prime mortgage melt-down. So I investigated the flip side of the picture: Ralph Nader.
I had not realized he had done so much good for Americans. I had not known that he sued General Motors for harassment and won.
I wondered how John Kerry managed to throw away his chance to defeat Bush, then I saw this documentary and Ralph Nader described what he suggested to Kerry and I found myself saying, "Yes, I would have voted for Kerry if he had done as Nader suggested." The people running the Democratic party are brain-dead. It was amazing to see Nader understanding what it took to defeat Bush while John Kerry was clueless.
This documentary was one surprise after another. The biggest shock was seeing Pat Buchanan, who had worked in the White House for Nixon, Ford, and Reagan, saying on camera that "democracy in America is a fraud." Watch this documentary and you will see why Buchanan might say that.
I have been reading the New York Times regularly since I was a teen-ager. I am now middle-aged and finding out that we need to work hard to be well informed. Now I know I cannot trust the newspapers to keep me properly informed, maybe because they are large corporations with an agenda to twist the truth.
If you want to be an informed citizen, see this documentary.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
A great portrait of a great AmericanMarch 9 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
I had no idea how many great things Ralph Nader had done for society. Nader's battles against the large corporations which would (and already do) enslave us, were incredible. The man has done more good for the average person than any half dozen career politicians, and I admire him for it. As for the cowardly, whiny Democrats in this film whom crucify Nader, they sicken me. It isn't Ralph Nader's fault that 49% of American's wanted more of the Bush regime. It also isn't Ralph Nader's fault the Florida Supreme Court chose not to count the remaining votes. One day Americans will wake up and realize that both parties are two slightly varying heads from the same snake, and that our "democracy" is already controlled by the elite. The disturbingly fierce opposition to Nader's Presidential runs prove it. Mr. Nader: thanks for your service.