Alternate Title: Ralph Nader: An Unreasonable Man
Directors: Henriette Mantel and Steve Skrovan
Like a majority of the children of the baby boomers, most of my knowledge of Ralph Nader came from the past several years and his widely analyzed campaigns as a third party independent candidate for the U.S. presidency. However, thanks to the 2006 documentary An Unreasonable Man, nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, we are given a very in-depth (122 minutes worth) look at the career and life of consumer safety advocate and political activist Ralph Nader. Mantel, who formerly worked for Nader, along with co-director Skrovan, manages to create a refreshingly balanced portrait of the man and his legacy although the film still devotes an overly long amount of time to the controversial 2000 election which led to one of the most confusing, debated and questionable outcomes in recent memory. The film works well especially in its earliest scenes in establishing Nader’s drive to help keep consumers safe with his efforts in securing seat belts and air bags, promoting a cleaner environment and in his work with crafting reports and bringing about change with his “Nader’s Raiders,” some of whom are interviewed in the documentary. Although it’s hard to convince those disinterested in politics or American history to spend more than two hours watching a documentary, those who take the time to do so will be greatly surprised and it’s a vital document about a courageous risk-taker that helps educate viewers to look past the sensational commentary and headlines of the past few years and realize just how indebted we are in our daily lives from grocery shopping to driving and more to the legacy of Ralph Nader.