Review by Sean Boelman
The newest film from documentarian Damon Gameau, 2040 takes a look at the ongoing environmental crisis being faced on the planet and the ways in which forward-thinkers are coming together to help remediate it. Featuring an important message told in a fascinating way, Gameau’s movie will stand out as one of the best conversation-starters of the year, even if it doesn’t always have the depth to pack it up.
In the film, Gameau takes a look at some of the small-scale solutions being devised around the world in an attempt to reduce the impact humans have on the environment and how they can be applied in a larger sense. While a few of the things that Gameau discusses (such as solar energy) will be things that audiences will already have heard of, some of the more radical solutions are much more fascinating.
Although Gameau is largely concerned with the ways in which these issues can be fixed as a whole, he also stresses the importance of an individual’s personal responsibility to the world. If every one of us does not make our own contribution to the betterment of the planet, these ideas will fall apart and have little impact.
By focusing on a series of issues and solutions, Gameau makes a compelling argument that is very well-structured. It’s a very measured approach, and even though the storytelling does begin to feel a tad conventional at times, the ambitious way in which Gameau brings his story to life never ceases to amaze.
Part of what makes Gameau’s movie stand out is its extraordinary use of animation. The expected graphics to explain some of the harder-to-understand concepts are obviously there, but what works even better is the way in which the interviews are shot. The backgrounds of the interviews are very dynamic and unusual, adding another layer of interest to the film.
The movie features interviews with numerous experts and figures who lead the field of movers and shakers trying to change the world for the better. From scientists knowledgeable about the issues at hand to the inventors who devised a creative solution to them, viewers will certainly leave this film feeling a lot more enlightened about the ways in which they can make a positive impact.
Gameau also uses an interesting framing device to make the story have more of an emotional impact on the audience. The movie is effectively positioned as a letter to his young daughter, exploring the world she will live in come 2040. This will help the film connect with anyone who, like Gameau, is worried about what the planet will look like for future generations.
2040 is definitely a very powerful and interesting documentary that demands to be seen by audiences. The movie presents some interesting ideas that, while futuristic, may very well point us in the direction that we need to be heading.
2040 screens online in partnership with indie theaters beginning June 5. A list of participating locations can be found here.