Film Review: Before the Flood
Before the Flood
Movie star and longtime environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio and director Fisher Stevens travel across the world to learn more about the phenomena around climate change, and the people involved—from vast mining operators in Canada, to sustainable energy activists in India, to scientists studying the melting ice in Greenland, and economists advocating a carbon tax. The result is an informative, urgent documentary that serves as a primer for the multifaceted issues of global warming and climate change. It is also a panorama of the earth and society at a critical juncture: while many of the effects of climate change appear to be irreversible, there’s still time to slow down or stop some of it, provided the nations of the world can come together. That’s the rub, of course: the film leads up to a highly praised speech given by DiCaprio at the UN, and even includes an interview with President Obama, but its overall tone is not optimistic.
Still, it’s an effective and impassioned documentary. It’s also filled with touching insights about DiCaprio himself—about his childhood and how he got involved with environmentalism. The actor turns the cameras on his own world and interrogates his role in this issue—both because his high profile makes him an easy target for climate-denying pundits at places like Fox News, and because, as a rich star with a big entourage, he has a massive carbon footprint. The actor’s own forthrightness helps unify the film’s message: that we all have to look hard and pitch in if we are to preserve the planet for future generations.