In a recent Doc Talk column, I wondered if documentaries can still function as educational media, especially after all the dubious films released in 2010 that made us question truth in non-fiction cinema. Now, only a couple weeks into 2011, I have to admit that I learned a lot from two new documentaries, 'I'm Dangerous with Love,' and 'Plastic Planet,' both of which open theatrically this week.
Neither of these films are amazing, in fact they each suffer from overuse of weak first-person voiceover narration, but they both deal in very compelling and topical subjects. 'Dangerous' looks into the illegal and therefore underground use of the hallucinogen ibogaine in treating heroin addiction, through the focus on junkie punk-turned-spiritual guide Dimitri Mugianis. 'Plastic Planet' searches around the world (the travel budget must have been enormous) for proof that some commonly used plastics are hazardous, if not lethal, to humans and the environment.