James Balog is a genius. He is a photographer of great renown among the lovers of nature and defenders of the planet, but I did not know about him until I saw the trailer for the documentary Chasing Ice. I will plead ignorance even further still. I thought Balog was a professor of geology or a scientist in climatology or a related field. Only after I saw to movie did I realize that he was an amazing photographer.
My wife and I saw the documentary in a small theatre on the west side of Toronto. This was the only cinema that was showing the movie in the city. The proprietor of the establishment repeatedly referred to the theatre, a room with about thirty seats, as the screening room. It was small, dark and smelling of an old, decaying building. We persevered and watched the movie all by ourselves. It felt awesome to have the whole theatre to ourselves.
The movie opened up with a discussion of James Balog's photography career and exhibited his early work. Impressive though it was, I was a little anxious to get on with the main story behind the movie that of chasing the retreating icebergs around Greenland and Iceland. But I was wrong to prejudge the storyline and its progression.
The story had been structured in linear way, showing the Balog's epiphany about how to help his audience understand the scale of the catastrophe unfolding in the Arctic and continuing the journey with its inevitable ups and downs. The documentary features morally defeating setbacks, breakthrough moments, unexpected surprises, and jaw dropping scenery. Most important of all, it delivers its message with aplomb.
James Balog is a genius. The simplicity of his message shines throughout the whole movie. The planet is changing faster then anyone expected and the evidence is now on record. With this movie Balog is doing everything he knows how to do to alert humanity to a clear and present danger our planet is facing. See this documentary today, tomorrow, or this week. Find a theatre near you and watch the movie.