Ruppert, a former Los Angeles police officer who describes himself as an investigative reporter and radical thinker, has authored books on the events of the September 11 attacks and of energy issues. Critics[who?] call him a conspiracy theorist and an alarmist.
Director Smith interviewed Ruppert over the course of fourteen hours in an interrogation-like setting in an abandoned warehouse basement meat locker near downtown Los Angeles. Ruppert’s interview was shot over five days throughout March and April 2009. The filmmakers distilled these interviews down to this 82 minute monologue with archival footage interspersed as illustration.
The title refers to Ruppert’s belief that unsustainable energy and financial policies have led to an ongoing collapse of modern industrial civilization.
The film does not overtly take a perspective on the validity of Ruppert’s positions and critics have alternatively described the film as supportive and as critical of Ruppert’s views. Smith himself, speaking at the Toronto International Film Festival premiere, said that "What I hoped to reveal was ... that his obsession with the collapse of industrial civilization has led to the collapse of his life. In the end, it is a character study about his obsession.
(Collapse, The title refers to Ruppert's belief that unsustainable energy and financial policies have led to an ongoing collapse of modern industrial civilization.)
Sitting in a room that looks like a bunker, Ruppert briefly recounts his life including his parents' ties to U.S. intelligence agencies and Ruppert’s own career as an LAPD beat cop and detective. Ruppert then summarizes current energy and economic issues, focusing mainly around the core concepts of peak oil and sustainable development. He also criticizes fiat money and discusses CIA drug trafficking.
The bulk of the film presents Ruppert making an array of predictions including social unrest, violence, population dislocation and governmental collapses in the United States and throughout the world. He draws on the same news reports and data available to any Internet user, but he applies a unique interpretation -- “connecting the dots” as he calls it.
Smith periodically stops Ruppert to question his assumptions and provide a note of skepticism."