Before the Flood Review

Written by Chloe Chalekian, ESLLC 2016-2017

btfOscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio partnered with National geographic to release the documentary “Before the Flood” on Oct. 21. DiCaprio narrates the film which focuses on human causes of climate change and what can be done about them.

The documentary is molded around a metaphor proffered by Hieronymus Bosch’s painting, Garden of Earthly Delights which hung above DiCaprio’s crib. Bosch’s painting is divided into three panels, the garden of eden, the emergence of sin and hell. The film is actually named after the middle panel which is titled Humankind before the flood. DiCaprio states that we are in the second panel and it is our actions now that will determine whether or not we enter that third panel.

The documentary was produced to “create a film that gave people a sense of urgency, that made them understand what particular things are going to solve this problem.” says DiCaprio. Throughout the film viewers are shown apocalyptic scenes of coral bleaching, the alberta tar sands, burning forests in Indonesia and Beijing covered in smog. However, this is partially balanced as most of the scientists and leaders that DiCaprio are optimistic that climate change won’t enter the third panel phase.

The film brought to light lesser known technological, dietary and legislative solutions to climate change which aren’t commonly talked about. Such as the carbon tax and Tesla’s gigafactories which have the potential to make the world 100% sustainable. The use of palm oil is denounced as it is directly linked to the destruction of Indonesia’s rainforests. DiCaprio also takes a stab at the beef industry by showing the amount of resources needed to produce beef and the methane it produces. Which as a greenhouse gas methane is 32x more potent that carbon dioxide.

The best part of the film is when Dr. Sunita Narain from India puts the shoe on the other foot when she asks DiCaprio what the U.S is doing to be an example because China is investing more in renewables than we are. She also highlights the hypocrisy in developed nations calling on undeveloped nations to be renewable when they can’t even themselves.

Coming from an A list actor, I had high expectations on the film quality which it delivered on complete with graphics and animations. The only thing I can critique about it was that they didn’t appear to invest in a tripod.

Overall, DiCaprio’s film is a must see for the whole family, granola munching and otherwise.


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