Before the Flood reveals realities of climate change

Leonardo DiCaprio's passion project scratches the surface of climate change

U.S. President Barrack Obama was just one of many big meetings Leonardo DiCaprio has in the film. (RatPac Documentary Films, Nat Geo)

U.S. President Barrack Obama was just one of many big meetings Leonardo DiCaprio has in the film. (RatPac Documentary Films, Nat Geo)

Climate change is happening: this is a fact. No amount of bible-thumping, Trump-supporting naysayers who come out to put forth their opinion can dispel the science. Ambivalence towards the subject is common among many people, a lack of understanding fuels an inability to change, thus putting us further into the mess humans have created.

Leonardo DiCaprio and director Fisher Stevens have come together to create a documentary surrounding last year’s Paris Agreement and spark change before it is too late. While hopeful and full of charisma, the documentary is unfortunately bogged down by not focusing on any specific aspect of the necessary change needed, instead acting as a rudimentary lesson on what the effects of climate change will have on our planet.

The film is structured around the travels of DiCaprio as he goes from country to country inquiring about the effects surrounding the Alberta oil sands, Indonesian palm oil plantations and more.

The film is fuelled by the charisma DiCaprio displays as his interest in the subject propels the interest of the documentary. Unfortunately that is partially the fault of the film as well. Flipping forward from subject to subject, the 95 minutes of the film is spent without a major focus to tackle. From pollution and politics to understanding the science behind the change in climate, the broad focus of the documentary excels in initiating the viewer in the struggles of the fight against climate change yet never says anything more than “we need to change and do it fast” that many who will go to see the film already know.

The aspirations of inspiring the collective consciousness to adopt a different lifestyle is admirable and enchanting, yet as seen with the recent results of the United States election, the perpetuation of environmental damage seems completely necessary to a large portion of the American audience. The film points out that many people should elect leaders that will provoke serious stakes on the fight against pollution and institute carbon taxes to offset their country’s dependence on fossil fuels.

The film works best on trying to introduce people to the struggles we are facing on a planetary scale. Its surface-level attack on the subject opens up the discussion for viewers to further uncover, should they wish to.

The film is well made and has great intentions. I believe that the film would have been more fruitful if it invested greater detail in its subjects, delving into what the population must do must do before we capsize the ship that is planet Earth.