You think the economy’s going to bounce back? Think again. With the way the world is burning through oil we’re on a downward slope, headed for a new dark age. Forget 2012, the real end of the world is going to consist of riots and wars, disease and starvation. It’s inevitable, and those of us that survive are going to have to struggle to do so till the end of our days.

At least, according to Michael Ruppert.

Who’s Michael Ruppert? He’s a former LA cop who was fired after taking the CIA to task for dealing drugs in the states and went off to become an independent reporter… or conspiracy theorist, according to his detractors. He broke a ton of stories on his website From The Wilderness and became involved with the truther movement after 9/11. Four years ago the man predicted almost to the letter what would happen to the economy, and now he’s terrified for the future. Forget about all the small stuff, this is the real deal- end of the world type shit- and he wants people to listen and do something about it.

Shot in the basement of an abandoned meat packing plant and lit dimly, the film gives you the idea that you’re either being let in on secret information or listening to a complete lunatic. The whole film is an interview with the man, interspersed with various footage to keep your interest in a very Errol Morris-ish way. Ruppert turns out to be an amazingly compelling talker and even if you don’t agree with what he says you will be enthralled by how he says it.

The thing is, a lot of what he says makes sense. Oil isn’t infinite, the options aren’t nearly as good, and no one’s really looking to the future. For the most part his fears are well-reasoned and will resonate with you and scare you… until you realize what a bitter man he is, how angry he is about being ignored for all these years. Then the title of the film twists and becomes more about the collapse of a man’s health and sanity. The collapse of the world he’s built up around him, the way he’s terrified to be right… but might be more terrified to have been wrong this whole time.

Director Chris Smith frequently throws in his own questions off-camera to bring Ruppert (and the film) back down after he gets worked up, and his reactions give you a much better idea of who this man is. There’s a moment in the film where Ruppert talks about how, if you were armed with the knowledge about what happened on the Titanic and tried to warn people on the trip, you would run into three kinds of people. There would be those who looked at you with a dumb look in their eyes like a deer caught in headlights, there would be those who told you that you’re nuts because the ship is unsinkable, and there will be those who will believe you and ask what they could do to save themselves.

It’s interesting to note that the audience reaction to the film is much the same way. The skeptics scoffed and laughed, the believers looked on in complete approval, and others didn’t know what to think. The one thing it will do for everyone, however, is get you talking. You can’t forget what you see here and even if Ruppert isn’t the best or most stable voice of dissent, the discussion has to start somewhere.

A truly haunting film.

9.0 out of 10

Collapse opens at the Angelika in NYC this Friday, November 6th and also hits VOD. Check your cable providers!