A Plastic Ocean grabs your attention immediately, with what might be one of the greatest horror reveals in cinema. Opening on rare footage of blue whales in their natural habitat, the camera pans right, into a floating whirl of oil and rubbish – laying bare the devastating impact humanity’s overreliance on plastic has had on the world’s seas. Filming this miasma of eco-destruction kickstarted Craig Leeson’s interest in this subject, and his passion is infectious; by the time the credits are rolling you’ll be raring to run out and change the world.
This documentary is overwhelmingly informative – and not shy about tugging on the heartstrings. Whales are just the tip of the iceberg – every level of the food chain is under threat. Gleeson smartly keeps the pace fast, as the film zips around the globe, showing the harmful effects of plastic everywhere from remote Pacific islands to the coast of France (you’ll never look at mussels on a menu the same way). And it isn’t just marine life – entire islands and cities are being affected in surprising and indescribable ways.
Dozens of conservationists across the world chip in their expertise, and their enthusiasm keeps this from feeling too much like a vanity exercise (or worse, a science lesson). World Champion diver Tanya Streeter is a particular highlight, as is Leeson himself, whose narration is pitched perfectly between passionate activist and populist scientist. Cinematic infographics also keep the film moving without descending into a two-hour stat-attack.
Just when you feel like you’ve heard too many horror stories, A Plastic Ocean smartly changes tack, and shows you just how you can make a difference, keeping it from verging into fear-mongering. Equal parts insightful, frightful and cautiously hopeful, this documentary is a must-see.
DIRECTOR: Craig Leeson
WRITER: Craig Leeson
SYNOPSIS: Journalist Craig Leeson, searching for the elusive blue whale, discovers plastic waste in what should be pristine ocean. In this adventure documentary Craig travels to uncover alarming truths about plastic pollution, and reveal working solutions that can be put into immediate effect.