National Geographic has shared Leonardo DiCaprio’s climate change documentary, the necessarily ominously titled (to put it lightly) Before the Flood. The film, directed by The Cove‘s Fisher Stevens, sees DiCaprio traveling the world to discuss the all-too-often-ignored issue (especially when there’s a more immediately comprehensible — in that you can so easily see his stupid face, and then talk about that stupid face — force of evil everyone’s responding to) that’ll be at the core of determining what the rest of human life will look like. He speaks with with politicians, scientists, and other influential figures (the doc includes talks with the likes of Barack Obama, Pope Francis, and Elon Musk), as well as people who’ve already felt the impact of climate change-induced weather. DiCaprio and Stevens’ journey spans three years.
Fusion’s Ari Phillips, in his review, rightly grounds the doc in relationship to An Inconvenient Truth, the first huge documentary released surrounding the subject, and certainly the first to bear the similar, odd power of a celebrity spokesperson to get people discussing it. That doc, he emphasizes, focused on informing people of the science of the incoming changes the world would see, whereas now we’re in a place where it has to be treated immediately — and has to be presumed that people who aren’t entirely deluded get the scientific nature of this. He says:
What’s also clear is that addressing climate change in an effective manner will take a lot more than understanding the science, it will require overcoming human nature and our tendency to prioritize the present at the expense of the future.
Before the Flood was produced by National Geographic alongside Martin Scorsese, and is available for free across a number of platforms (it’s also up on Hulu and Facebook). DiCaprio said to The Hollywood Reporter that “Climate change is the most critical and urgent problem facing our world today, and it must be a top issue for voters this Election Day.” Since the candidates didn’t get much of a chance to talk about it during their actual debates, it’s a good thing this exists.
As music websites posting about the doc point out, it happens — beyond its pressing subject matter — to be soundtracked by Mogwai and Trent Reznor, so if a celebrity name like Leonardo DiCaprio can’t get you to pay attention to the far-too-infrequently discussed nature of, you know, impending doom, perhaps a brooding soundtrack by two famous musicians will.
Watch it here: