Before the Flood review – DiCaprio's level-headed climate change doc
Correctly identifying the most important issue of our time, the actor uses his clout and his carbon footprint to travel the world and ponder the incongruities
Here is a heartfelt, decent, educational documentary about the most important issue of our time – climate change – presented by A-lister Leonardo DiCaprio, who proves his own commitment to the cause. His own interest began with an encounter with Al Gore in 2000 and has been a genuine passion with him since. DiCaprio concedes that his own celebrity status is a double-edged sword. It draws attention to the topic, but allows the naysayers to say that he is a shallow, chuckle-headed movie star and this whole issue must therefore be a fad. There are brutal Fox TV news clips to this effect.
DiCaprio travels the globe (while cautiously conceding the carbon footprint issue – it is avowedly “offset” with a voluntary carbon tax payment) examining our fossil-fuel addiction, including emerging powerhouses such as India who now resent the idea of being denied the energy-consumption prosperity that the US has already enjoyed. The answer seems to be, of course, enforcing the 2015 Paris agreement, developing wind and solar power – although revisionist arguments for nuclear are not touched upon – and also a carbon tax. A shift in public opinion has to be achieved to change the political classes’ opinion: DiCaprio concludes with a ruminative walk-and-talk interview with President Obama himself, more interesting than his apparently wordless photo-op with the Pope. A serious, substantial piece of work.