"Change is needed to save these precious environments and communities."
The best documentaries bring a clear message mixed with an engaging execution to pull in audiences, and can inform and attack a contemporary issue better than other filmic formats. This year's Sydney Film Festival hosts the new documentary Atlantic from Risteard O'Domhnaill.
The film focuses on the fish and oil industries in the North Atlantic Ocean, and the exploitive impact by corporations on both the environment and the fishing communities from both sides of the Atlantic.
O'Domhnaill's approach is effective, with varied subjects and detailed historical information shedding light on this complex, bleak topic. While this information is packed into a short runtime, leaving little time to breathe, the message is clear, particularly from the tagline "Three Countries. Two Resources. One Choice," that change is needed to save these precious environments and communities. Seeing the effects — from old school fishermen pushed out of their traditional methods/jobs to the aquatic wildlife either scared away or discarded — is heartbreaking.
The execution is also effective, with good camera use in interview coverage and breathtaking wide shots of the Atlantic environment both above and below water. His subject choices prove interesting and sympathetic, and employing smoothly eloquent narration from the great Brendan Gleeson enhances the Irish identity and drama overall.
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Atlantic is an informative and eye-opening documentary on a subject most would not know of.