REVIEW: Before the Flood

19 11 2016

before-the-floodAdmittedly, I know fairly little about climate change apart from what I learn in documentary films. (You didn’t ask for this, but I’ll provide two recommendations anyways – “Merchants of Doubt” in regards to the science, and “Chasing Ice” to cover the effects.) But I do know quite a bit about Leonardo DiCaprio and his celebrity. The man loves disappearing into roles while almost never letting his private life become public. Maybe that’s because he allegedly vapes and puts on headphones during sex, but that’s neither here nor there…

Anyways, back to climate change! Leonardo DiCaprio shows us more of himself in “Before the Flood” than most people have seen in decades of stargazing. We see his fire for the issue like nothing else before, where he can come across as disengaged or disinterested. If he’s willing to shatter the barriers between us and his classic film actor persona to talk about climate change, then we all ought to listen.

The documentary itself treads standard ground for advocacy. It details the problem, shows the corrosion of the earth already well underway in the glaciers, talks to pundits working to turn back the tide, and gives a faint glimmer of hope. The thread running through most of the film’s scenes is DiCaprio, the fully present activist who listens, absorbs and reacts. From his early days of concern in the ’90s to the troubling shoot of “The Revenant,” where climate change necessitated the shoot switch hemispheres to find icy temperatures, climate change has always motivated him. “Before the Flood” sometimes feels like a concerted PR puff piece for DiCaprio, though his genuine passion really does shine through. Perhaps to the point that it even obscures the real discussion topic. B2halfstars

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