Combustible Celluloid
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With: Leonardo DiCaprio, Barack Obama, John Kerry
Written by: Mark Monroe
Directed by: Fisher Stevens
MPAA Rating: PG for thematic elements, some nude and suggestive art images, language and brief smoking
Running Time: 96
Date: 10/30/2016

Before the Flood (2016)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Rising Tides

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Before the Flood is one of many recent documentaries about climate change, which are no fun, but with Leonardo DiCaprio at its center, this one offers crucial, current information, as well as a measure of hope.

The doc follows U.N. Messenger of Peace — and now Oscar winner — Leonardo DiCaprio as he travels the world, looking at the state of Climate Change. Much of what he finds is devastating, including flooding in Miami, Florida (being temporarily staved off by expensive pumps) and forests in Indonesia leveled to make palm oil, which is now used in most processed foods. But he also finds hope, speaking with scientists and world leaders, and learns about the things that every citizen of earth can begin doing right away. He finds that the situation has become urgent, and the time to act is now. But will big corporations and deniers of science put a stop to those that try to help?

Actor/producer Fisher Stevens, who won an Oscar for the powerful dolphin documentary The Cove, directs, beginning with a reference to Bosch's painting Garden of Earthly Delights. DiCaprio apparently had this work hanging in his room as a child, and he sees it as a metaphor for how man has treated this planet. On camera, DiCaprio begins the movie with a pessimistic outlook, yet keeps an open mind as he meets and talks with politicians, specialists, and scientists, and finds that, while problems persist, there are also a great number of solutions that have begun to be implemented.

We learn that simply by eating less beef, we can save enormous amounts of resources used to feed cattle, not to mention the incredible amounts of destructive methane gas they emit. We also learn that demanding companies pay a tax on carbon emissions will help. (Stevens's production paid a voluntary carbon tax.) If you saw — or didn't see — An Inconvenient Truth, Chasing Ice, Merchants of Doubt, or others — then you should see this. We are all the last best hope of earth.

Check out the official website for more information on where to see the film or how to help.

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