They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but in this instance, a few moments of jaw-dropping time-lapse footage pretty much eclipse every other environmental documentary we’ve seen before.
James Balog was doing well for himself as a leading nature photographer, until a realisation struck him: ‘The secret’s in the ice.’ If anything was definitive evidence of unarguable climate change, it was the state of the glaciers, since their history tells the story of the world’s fluctuating temperatures. Over repeated visits to northern climes, he could see for himself that these long-lived ice-sheets were shrinking, but he realised the only way to quantify their decline was to record it over a period of time.
Jeff Orlowski’s otherwise unassuming documentary takes the viewer on that journey too, as frozen cameras and Balog’s wrecked knee-joints provide modest nuggets of drama before the film’s raison d’être: staggering images of massive glaciers in Alaska and Greenland melting away before our eyes like ice-creams on a hot pavement.
Still an eco-sceptic? Clap your eyes on this lot. Awe-inspiring, terrifying, transcendently beautiful, and absolutely weighted with significance for the future of the planet. The term ‘game changer’ barely does the film justice, and the big screen is just the place to see it in all its ominous splendour.