'Racing Extinction': Film Review

Racing Extinction
Courtesy of Sundance International Film Festival
A brilliant doc on ocean devastation

A doc that examines the decimation of aquatic species threatening our oceans

We humans can only see a very narrow spectrum of what is out there. There is a whole world hidden to our eyes, and it’s what we don’t see that threatens our planet’s survival, according to filmmaker Louie Psihoyos. A mesmeric entertainment and enlightenment, Racing Extinction jolted a Sundance audience to ecstatic appreciation for its cogent illumination of a life-and-death subject.

The film is a captivating, sobering look at the world’s endangered aquatic species, but it’s also a frightening revelation of what methane and carbon are doing to the ocean. We often worry about air quality, but ocean quality is an overlooked catastrophe waiting to happen.

Utilizing images that clearly show the methane spewing into our air (a large part from cattle flatulence), filmmaker/still photographer/diver/paleontologist Louie Psihoyos visualizes for us the overt and often illegal harm mankind is perpetrating on endangered species.

Part guerilla filmmaking, as Psihoyos and his daring crew infiltrate Chinese criminal dens that carve up and sell endangered species, such as shark and whale, this documentary resonates on an urgent level. Above all, Racing Extinction is a chilling call to action to stop ocean poisoning before it results in destruction of the planet.

No mere “greenie” rant, the film abounds with scientific fact, as well as compelling imagery and real-life situations that make it accessible to even non-scientific types. Technically articulate, this smart document is empowered by its engaging visuals, compliments of its team of creative cinematographers and editors.

Director: Louie Psihoyos

Producers: Olivia Ahnemann, Fisher Stevens

Executive producer: Dieter Paulmann

Cinematographers: John Behrens, Shawn Heinrichs, Sean Kirby, Petr Stepanek

Editors: Geoffrey Richman, Lyman Smith, Jason Zeldes

Music: J. Ralph

No Rating, 90 minutes