Thursday, November 03, 2016

Before the Flood

Directed by Fisher Stevens and written by Mark Monroe, Before the Flood is a documentary film in which actor Leonardo diCaprio goes on a journey to see parts of the world that has been affected by climate change and global warming. The film is an exploration into the parts of the world that is eroding away as diCaprio interview many about what is there to do to save planet Earth. The result is a gripping yet evocative film from Fisher Stevens.

The film follows actor Leonardo diCaprio as he travels around the world just as he had been made as representative for the United Nations on climate change in 2014 where he would speak at the United Nations building in New York City about the subject. During this three-year journey around the world while making The Revenant for director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, diCaprio would learn about many things that is happening around the planet as it relates to a painting he remembered seeing when he was a baby as it was above this crib. The painting depicts three different images in the panel as the first depicts life in Eden with Adam and Eve as it was calm and peaceful. The second involves that world in chaos due to overpopulation and such while the third features that world dead as diCaprio sees that painting as a reflection of what is happening.

By going to places such as Miami which is dealing with rising water levels as its mayor is trying to stop that as well going to the smog-ridden Beijing in China. The film showcases the world’s reliance on fossil fuel such as oil, coal, and natural gas as it has caused a lot of environmental trouble while countries such as Denmark, the Netherlands, and Spain are trying to move away from fossil fuel in favor of solar power while Sweden is becoming the first country to become free of fossil fuel. Still, diCaprio would see that while there are countries that are trying to do something as well as make it a big issue including President Barack Obama who talks with diCaprio about climate change being a national security issue rather than an environment issue. It’s not enough as diCaprio is aware that many of these oil companies are part of corporate conglomerates who are more interested in making money than doing what is right while there are also politicians who refuse to believe in the concept of global warming and climate change.

Fisher Stevens’ direction is very simple in the way he shoots many of the locations that are present as well as showing what is happening as coral reefs under the sea have died while Greenland is starting to melt in a rapid pace. The usage of the wide and medium shots with the aid of cinematographer Antonio Rossi would showcase the world that is starting to fall apart in some places including Indonesia where forest fires are becoming common all because of industry. With the aid of Brett Banks, Geoffrey Richman, Abhay Sofsky, and Ben Sozanski as well as sound designer Allan Zaleski, Stevens would use old footage of leaders in the past trying to make an effort to do something but often result in very little or often taking a step back in favor of more profitable interests. The interviews Stevens shoots with diCaprio talking to scientists, environmentalists, and world leaders showcase the people who weren’t just going to tell diCaprio what they’re facing but also the fact there is still hope and ways that can help the planet. Especially as some of these world leaders have faced the idea of what is happening while one of the biggest advocates in the subject of climate change is Pope Francis who is seen briefly conversing with diCaprio as the two talk and give each other gifts.

The film’s music by the Scottish post-rock band Mogwai, Gustavo Santaolalla, and the duo of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross is mainly an ambient-based score that features some of the soothing post-rock elements of Mogwai with Reznor/Ross‘ eerie ambient sounds driven by electronics with the folk-inspired music of Santaolalla. It is one of the film’s highlights as its overall presentation showcases a world that is coming apart but with a chance to repair itself.

Before the Flood is a marvelous film from Fisher Stevens. It’s a film that showcases the world that is starting to become more fragile as well as what can be done and what must be done to save it. In the end, Before the Flood is a remarkable film from Fisher Stevens.

© thevoid99 2016

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