Poised to find the largest release of any Canadian documentary ever produced, Rob Stewart’s Revolution takes a pretty simplistic, but undeniably personal look at the steps we all need to take to make our world a lot more liveable on an ecological level. The science isn’t all this shocking in this pseudo-sequel to Stewart’s own critically acclaimed Sharkwater, but for as bland as the film is sometimes on a factual level, there’s a really interesting and raggedy charm that Stewart brings to the film just by being himself.
Concerning how we might all the on the brink of extinction thanks to our own unhealthy reliance on everything that depletes the world of its natural resources, one of the best moments in the film comes early on. It shows the almost exact impetus for the film. At a screening of his previous film in Hong Kong, someone asks him something he very clearly never thought about: Why save only sharks if in about 60 or so years everything in the world’s oceans will be dead anyway? The look of shock on his face as he stammers to put together some kind of bullshit answer is priceless, and yet, it works because it sets Stewart down a new road of activism on a much more global scale.
Stewart effectively comes across as someone who has pretty much seen the face of the future and he’s terrified by what he saw, and for better or worse, the film feels genuine and heartfelt. The problem with making something so very much from-the-hip is that sometimes the factual basis of the story feels rote and passé. Talks with activists and scientists about how climate change is more than just an atmospheric issue won’t surprise anyone familiar with the basics.
But how Stewart interacts with those people yields the best footage. Acting as his own cameraman he can’t even hide how viscerally he feels about the situation when he isn’t front and centre. As a straight-up documentary it doesn’t raise the advocacy game even slightly. Yet by that same token, that same unique personability that Revolution has could make this an invaluable future resource for high school teachers and anyone looking for very basic ways of making the world a better place.