The Alberta tar sands come under fire in Rob Stewart’s Revolution.

The Alberta tar sands come under fire in Rob Stewart’s Revolution.

Reel Reviews: Film goes beyond saving whales

Rob Stewart's Revolution requests nothing short of a revolt against the governments and corporations that are destroying the planet.

  • May. 17, 2013 5:00 a.m.

Rob Stewart is a Canadian filmmaker with a passion for open water.

His first film, Sharkwater, is an award winning documentary about how shark fin soup is depleting the oceans of one of the Earth’s oldest living creatures.

While on tour supporting Sharkwater in China, Stewart was asked a question that led to his latest film Revolution: “Why are you so concerned about sharks when the oceans are going to be out of fish by 2048?”

The question stumped Stewart. Not because he had just wasted six years of his life, making and promoting Sharkwater, but because the imminent death of the planet’s oceans, by way of over-fishing and polluting, has been accepted as a given. It’s just a question of time.

Revolution points out the ecologically disruptive actions that have led to our current problems. A lack of foresight or understanding can take some of the blame, but when the scientists concur that doom is assured, yet the practices providing that assurance continue unabated, it becomes personally insulting.

Thus Revolution is a film that doesn’t just make people angry, it specifically reveals how Canadians should be ashamed of themselves and dares us to do something about it.

The film suggests that reason and fairness don’t seem to be working. The changes that are required must be forced and we in the western world must do the bulk of the work.

The film requests nothing short of a revolution against the governments and corporations that are destroying the planet. Our only other option is to evolve into something that can survive in a very different world.

We say, “We’re all going to die because we’re forcing the planet to kill us.”

TAYLOR: I’m unable to separate the content of this film from its execution to any meaningful degree. It is technically fine, has moments of beauty and emotion, but is blunt and a bit scattered due to it attempting to squish a complicated matter into 90 minutes. Such is it that Revolution exploits a current discourse in our society, scientific prudence versus commercial politics. The only real question is, what are we, the people who are paying attention, going to do about it?

HOWE: I agree. I know the many topics he covered are intertwined, but he does jump all over the place. I wish Stewart would have made six separate hour-long episodes on each subject and shown them on TV.  Perhaps that way more people would watch and take note.

He also talks about how it is the youth of today making the change. If that is so he should be giving copies of Revolution to all schools, colleges and universities. But I think everyone should watch this, if only to see what we are destroying. What we are doing to the Alberta landscape is disgraceful. The reason we do it is worse.

— Taylor gives Revolution 3.5 decades out of 5.

— Howe gives it 4 less species out of 5.

The film is currently showing at the Vernon Towne Cinema.

Peter Howe and Brian Taylor are freelance movie reviewers based in Vernon, B.C. Their column, Reel Reviews appears in The Morning Star every Friday and Sunday.