Review, Trailer: THE LAST TRUCK: CLOSING OF A GM PLANT

By at September 7, 2009 | 2:35 pm | Print

The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant Movie PosterHBO’s airing of John Adams on the 4th of July was some great timing. This is even better: For tonight’s Labor Day programming, the network closes its summer documentary series with The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant. Told only from the plant workers’ points-of-view, The Last Truck is about a group of friendly, hard-working people who suffer an enormous layoff; on a larger scope, it’s an historic tearjerker about employment in the U.S…. airing the same week U.S. unemployment has hit 9.4%.

The GM plant of the title is (was) located in Moraine, Ohio, just south of Dayton. It was a town full of high school grads with minimum- to low-wage jobs until GM came to town. Then, hundreds and hundreds of young bucks in their 20s took jobs, learned trades, and made good, middle-class cash.

When the gas-price insanity of 2008 had car buyers running from SUVs and trucks in droves, GM decided to close Moraine, a plant that just happened to specialize in SUVs and trucks. Many of those young bucks were in their 40s, with not enough education or experience to know their next moves.

Trailer for The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant

Filmmakers Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert (the award-winning Lion in the House) focus on a small handful of factory employees, interviewing many others from their cars, as they enter or leave the plant for the day. What shines through from these people are pride of work, gratitude for the plant’s existence and a camaraderie that brings everyone (including the audience) to tears.

As Bognar and Reichert bring us closer to the final day, the dread is palpable. And when the titular “last truck” moves down the line, the workers find that, for the first time in years, they don’t have another vehicle to work on. So they start their own humble celebration, on the day of their plant’s closing, just two days before Christmas.

Of near perfect length (just about 40 minutes), The Last Truck cuts to the core of what may be a forgotten asset in American manufacturing: People.

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