Racing Extinction (2015)

LOUIE PSIHOYOS

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBUSA//////, 2015, , , , , , , , , Screenplay by Cinematography by , , , Produced by , Music by Film Editing by , , Academy Awards 2015.

Louie Psihoyos follows his Oscar-winning documentary The Cove with another foray into environmental concern, this time focusing on the rapid extinction of animals on planet Earth. Some scientists estimate that around fifty percent of the species currently living will be gone in the next century, an alarming rate of destruction that is easily linked to human consumption and climate change (which is also the result of human consumption). It’s a large subject to deal with and Psihoyos covers a great deal in ninety minutes without going too deep; it’s more a primer for people getting interested in nature activism rather than something detailed or deeply explored. Whether or not audiences will find his arguments compelling will be up to the individual viewer, the film is released in an era when science has been (ridiculously) politicized, but even diehard environmental activists will find just about everything in this movie painfully familiar. Rob Stewart’s Sharkwater already did the undercover investigation into the shark-finning industry, and the relatively flimsy climax that Psihoyos builds to isn’t all that meaningful given the film’s attempt at a subject matter (those giant projections are gorgeous but I doubt they changed the world as much as this film wants you to believe they did). As a companion piece to Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, this one does end with a series of helpful tips on how the average person can make a huge difference without upending their lives or their bank accounts, and the sincerity of the project never fails throughout, but it’s a mildly impressive survey of so many topics that, were they to be focused on individually instead, could have each made a brilliantly powerful film.

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