At first glance, first-time filmmaker Jeff Barrie’s documentary Killowatt Ours looks like more of the same. You know, more of the same well-meaning, conservation-conscious, finger-wagging stuff that you’ve been seeing for years. The sort of film that likes to lecture you about how you are the problem and how you aren’t doing your bit. That point is often true, but if you’ve been hearing the same message long enough, you cease paying attention.
Barrie’s film is different, though. Oh, it has its share of feel-bad tactics, and the ones it employs are dillies, but they’re limited to the film’s opening. Soon Killowatt Ours settles into something more — not you are the problem, but we are the problem. And beyond that, the movie actually addresses things we can do to help be part of the solution.
Better yet, the film offers things we can do that are within the realm of the accessible and affordable. Too many works like this suggest things you can do to help that are all well and good, say, if you have $50,000 in loose change in your sock drawer, but aren’t very helpful to the average person. Barrie shows how he and his wife went about actually making that difference, all on a realistic budget. This is what makes this worthy film deserving of a look — followed by thought and, hopefully, some action.
– reviewed by Ken Hanke