HOT MONEY Film Review — Climate Change: National Security Threat

Not that interested in climate change? 

Consider this scene from Hot Money--

A White woman that looks just like the typical person in front of you at the grocery store speaks. She unknowingly has bought a house in a flood plain. She feels victimized that no one —not the realtor, nor the mortgage company —had warned her that her investment carried hidden risks that could completely endanger her family’s well-being.

While much of HOT MONEY footage is similarly dire, the film proposes positive national solutions to resolve this challenge.
Hot Money opens with an interior shot from the backseat of a car. Traffic stretches as far as the eye can see through the front windshield, their gas engines spewing exhaust. Stress and tension are palpable.  Co-hosts and narrators General Wesley Clark, (RET), former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, and his son, Wesley Clark, Jr, banter back and forth at times playfully disagreeing with each other about our next steps to deal with Climate Change. Their conversations throughout the documentary are casual, easy to listen to and engaging, adding lightness to a heavy subject. As retired military, both have backgrounds in National Security.

HOT MONEY examines the financial system and how climatic catastrophes constitute a National Security threat.

HOT MONEY Gives Us a Course in Finance 101

This documentary features interviews with experts: bankers, economists, an engineer and a mathematician. Also, actor, musician and humanitarian, Jeff Bridges, along with Arkansas farmers, a former oil executive, authors and international university professors tell the story. Director and Writer, Susan Kucera, cuts back and forth between the interviews, animations and narration by the Clarks adding visual interest to what could have been a grind with so much dialogue, in this writer’s view. Dr. Luka Powanga, a Black professor of Economics, writes on a classroom whiteboard as he speaks.

Seeing the graphics, watching the interspersed cartoon animations as well hearing from Dr. Powanga we get a kind of Finance 101 to understand derivatives, economics and markets.  Emotional archival footage, including speeches by President Reagan and poignant shots of the Dust Bowl and Great Depression, help explain the history and politics of our current predicament.

Director Kucera gives the one-two-punch— we hear the info and then see it, just in case we missed it the first time.

Hot Money doesn’t discuss  how climate change contributes to endangered species extinction or fossil fuel pipelines causing oil spills. Rather, this is all about climate change’s less discussed aspects of economics and security.

Documentary film lovers and students of economics, history, political science and the environment will enjoy the different perspectives this film covers regarding climate change.


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Runtime: 118 mins with an Intermission
Director & Writer: Susan Kucera
Producers: Jim Swift & Jeff Bridges
Cast: General Wesley Clark (RET), Former NATO Allied Supreme Commander, & Wes Clark Jr, Wind Energy Project Manager
Soundtrack: Eric Gilliom

For more information, visit the Hot Money film website.

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Images courtesy of Hot Money film.

Caryn Hoffmann
Caryn Hoffman

About the Author: Caryn Hoffman

Ms. Hoffman has a degree in art and her life’s work has been environmentally and  politically focused. After community organizing on both coasts, she had a career as an educator in Southern California. Now, semi-retired, Ms. Hoffman leads an active, outdoor lifestyle, continues to advocate for the environment and travels. She is especially fond of art, film, cultural events and is an ardent, live music fan. She loves adventure travel including camping, hiking, kayaking, rafting and road biking.

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