Given the amount of extreme weather and natural disasters that have occurred recently, it is hard to believe that there are people who refuse to believe in climate change. However, the subject matter of this documentary is a response to that fact. Leonardo DiCaprio takes the audience along with him as he attempts to convince the world’s leaders that global warming is a danger that must be addressed.
This documentary is the essence of, to borrow a phrase from literature, creative non-fiction. This is to stay that, although the content is factual, it is incredibly personal to the creator. The non-fiction is interwoven with personal experience.
DiCaprio’s earliest childhood memory actually links to the topic of the documentary. He also happened to be filming The Revenant at the time which is connected to environmental concerns. ‘Before the Flood’ was clearly a very symbiotic project for DiCaprio which adds an even greater feeling of importance to the film.
It may sound dower given that it is a documentary about climate change. It never felt like tough going though. It’s an adventure, you can hardly believe some of the locations can exist on Earth. There are dramatic locations straight out of Lord of the Rings. As Leonardo says, the oil farm looks like Mordor.
I would say that Leonardo could have been more engaging as a presenter. He was cold and distant at times. DiCaprio would sometimes just nod at someone and stare at them through his sunglasses. He would also ignore experts, doing his own thing while they were explaining the science to him. He often came across as dismissive and standoffish.
With that said, many of the experts and industry figures that featured were charismatic and funny. This made-up for Leonardo’s silence. A particularly good line was: “politicians, although we call them our elected leaders, are actually our elected followers”. This was backed by the information that Obama was against gay marriage when the polls said that the public were. After the polls changed, he made a u-turn and said he was all for it.
This movie was an admirable cause for DiCaprio to attach himself to and perhaps the fact that the Paris Agreement happened while he was filming means it has achieved something.
Leonardo could have been a better host at times but it was still a really interesting watch. It has that feeling that you are watching something worthwhile, which is what you want from a documentary. Before the Flood is available on Netflix and you should definitely check it out if you are ever searching for a documentary.