Before the Flood (2016)

Promotional image for the film

Leonardo DiCaprio needs no introduction and as such, he makes a great champion for one of the largest issues facing our planet to date: climate change. Before the Flood makes a convincing argument for anthropogenic climate change, that is, climate change caused by us. The most important feature of this documentary are the visuals. In many ways, climate change is a creeping disaster, one that’s effects are only slowly doled out over time and reveal themselves in ways that can anecdotally be explained away as a weird weather but, as the old adage goes, seeing is believing.

Before the Flood takes us all over the world to see the real impact of the planet’s chronic illness, showing flood prevention action in Miami, Florida (a state where no government employees are allowed to say “climate change”), disappearing glaciers in Greenland, and perhaps most shockingly, the Mordor-esque hellsacpe of the form boreal forests of western Canada, where tar sand oil extraction takes place (a process so inefficient that a barrel of oil is burned for every two extracted).

The movie is at least 50% different versions of this scene
Before the Flood doesn’t leave us feeling totally defeated. We caused this problem but we can also solve it. DiCaprio makes it his mission to convey this message of hope by speaking with people that can or are doing the most to combat climate change. He interviews Tesla founder Elon Musk, president Barack Obama, and even has a meeting with United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon of South Korea, among a milieu of other significant actors (not the Hollywood kind) in the fight against climate change. If the movie were made this year, Greta Thunberg would undoubtedly make an appearance.


While I feel DiCaprio’s heart is in the right place, I can’t help but feel a small sense of ego-ism in the movie as he takes a moment to show how his team had to move shooting of The Revenant from Canada to Argentina to chase snow. He often looks a bit oafish wearing designer clothes and flying in emissions-heavy private jets to visit locations who are suffering due to our lavish consumption in generally but not exclusively) in the west. I strongly urge you not only to watch this film, especially with those around you who may be skeptical of the climate change, but also to see through the shortcomings of the film and focus on the deeper message. We are in danger, but humanity works best when it has a common enemy. It’s time to get to work.


Title: Before the Flood 
Country of Origin: USA 
Genre: Documentary 
Released: October 31, 2016 (USA) 
Run time: 135 Minutes 
Director: Fisher Stevens 
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio  

This article was written in 2016 and in published with minor changes.