REVIEW — “Before the Flood”
Aside from being the man who is known for acting his ass off for an Oscar by appearing in half of Martin Scorsese’s filmography, Leonardo DiCaprio is an environmental activist who is striving to learn more and more about the effects of climate change, and what we can do to prevent the inevitable. I’m sure that some people who will read this review aren’t convinced that climate change is a reality – but please, watch this film prior to leaving a nasty comment about how we are sheep. The ice is melting faster, the sea levels are rising, and there are more frequent patterns of dangerous weather than ever before. That is not up for debate. That is not propaganda. That’s a fact, and “Before the Flood” is a journey through the lives of citizens around the world in areas that are being affected, as well as fellow activists and scientists who are struggling to be heard and figure out a solution to those facts before its too late.
As some people know, Leonardo DiCaprio was a speaker at a U.N. meeting when addressing all the nations about what he learned when filming this documentary. This speaks as to why the hell he’s on a documentary by National Geographic Chanel, other than the fact that he just genuinely cares about this issue. You can tell that he hasn’t been bought out to do a simple narration here; he is genuinely terrified about the realities that the future may hold and wants to get the message out as soon as he possibly can. In doing so, he travels to many different places. One of the many is Indonesia, which features one of the last remaining forests in the world that has Orangutans, Elephants, Lions, etc. all in one place. It’s not only harming the lives of citizens in different countries, but the habitats of endangered animals everywhere.
The film certainly goes all over the globe – in one section you’re in India, where Leo gets a lesson about American consumption and how we’re the main resource of all this damage. In another, you’re in the deep blue sea exploring the destroyed coral reefs which not only means less homes for half the population of fish, but gives less food income for many places that primarily use fish as their main resource of meat. You go through different nations that are already cutting back in their dietary consumption’s and use of fossil fuels – yet we constantly cut back to places in America where it feels as if we’re doing nothing at all. We learn that time after time, leaders in America have tried to pass bills but are revoked due to members of Congress being bought out by companies such as Koch, who profit off of the effects of global warming.
This film certainly isn’t depressing and it’s not a smack in the face of impending doom, but it’s a plea for urgency and a cry for change. Aside from the beautiful imagery of whats left in the world and the haunting shots of what was once here, it’s really the human encounters in this film that give you perspective. The citizens in small countries doing their part in conserving energy and fossil fuel consumption, or scientists who are working on more economically friendly uses of transportation, solar energy, etc. Two of the best scenes include Leo speaking to figures such as Pope Francis, who was the first Pope to ever shine light on the issue, and President Obama who is optimistic but eager to find a solution. This film explores a ton of locations and a ton of lives in a sheer 90 minutes, but excellently gets its point across. It may feel a bit too National Georgaphic at times, but it’s so genuine that you can’t resist what it’s preaching. It’s one of the most important films you’ll see this year, and a greatly crafted documentary. 4/5.
Watch the film for free below!