By: Trevor Chartrand
Director Fredric Golding takes a look at climate change with Meltdown, a documentary that focuses on the decline of melting glaciers in Greenland, the world’s ‘ground zero’ for evidence of climate change. The film features an odd-couple collaboration between Yale Science professor Tony Leiserowitz and renowned photographer Lynn Davis – two vastly different personalities with a shared interest in raising Global Warming awareness.
Davis, the entertainingly spaced-out photographer, is an artist in every sense of the word. She’s passionate, gifted, and beautifully eccentric. Leiserowitz on the other hand, is her polar opposite, calm and soft-spoken, with a more logical, scientific approach to life. Together, the two of them visit Greenland, where Lynn has been photographing glaciers and icebergs for years, noticing they are getting exponentially smaller with each visit. The two of them discuss their findings over the years and concerns about the inevitable decline of planet Earth’s fragile ecosystem.
Much like last year’s climate change documentary I Am Greta, the filmmakers behind Meltdown spend more time exploring the problem than ever bothering to offer up any solutions. Both of these climate change docs are missing the ever-important call-to-action this kind of film needs. We know there’s a problem, but we aren’t being given suggestions on how to correct it. Interviewees featured in Meltdown even acknowledge their awareness for human passivity, for our inclination to ignore what’s not in our faces. So why then, don’t the filmmakers offer any relevant advice on how to improve the current situation? If the problem is that people are prone to inaction, climate change films need to find a powerful motivator that could inspire change.
Instead though, this film essentially boils down to a series of beauty shots of melting glaciers, icebergs in decline. While the glaciers are photographed very well, there isn’t a whole lot of substance to a movie that’s primarily images of floating chunks of ice. Interspersed with surface-level interviews and debate, the interview subjects and their unique personalities are interesting and entertaining enough to watch… but again, the film doesn’t include anything that’s going to shock people into action.
The passion of the interview subjects, and their entertaining quirks, makes the film just slightly above interesting, but the subject matter is not presented strongly enough to break new ground. With a runtime barely passing 60 minutes, there’s certainly an opportunity here to have included more content – most significantly, a motivating slap in the face to inspire audiences to actually get involved.
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Trevor Chartrand: @OhHaiTrebor