Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Last Continent review

My review of the Last Continent appears in this week's WestEnder. Pick up a copy today if you can!

The Last Continent
By Andrea Warner
3 stars

Majestic glaciers crumble piece by mountainous piece in Jean Lemire’s documentary The Last Continent. Each chunk of ice that cracks free plunges into the water with such a thunderously cold splash, the chills that chase up your spine are as much from a sense of foreboding as brilliant cinematography. We are watching the earth, and quite possibly the future, melt.

Lemire is the lead adventurer/biologist/filmmaker who decided to lead a crew of 13 people and voluntarily strand themselves in the Antarctic ice pack to document the affects of climate change in one of the world’s least observed places. The concept is unique and undeniably cool: the crew will be veritable hostages aboard their boat, Sedna IV, for the nine months of Antarctic winter once the ice pack sets in.

Ultimately, the team become unknowing victims of the climate change they set out to document—rising temperatures delay the ice packs and put the crew’s lives and sanity at risk. But this is where the unpredictability of documentary filmmaking becomes a liability: there are too many scenes of crewmembers frolicking, floundering, and feeling frustrated as global warming stalls their progress and proves their point simultaneously. And, the strangely sudden ending may take the film full circle, but knowing what came of the crew’s observations would help the film resonate more profoundly.

The Last Continent may be as uneven as the choppy ocean waters it dwells in, but it’s impossible to deny the film takes us on an unforgettable journey.

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