Thursday, 4 February 2016

REVIEW - RACING EXTINCTION (LOUIE PSIHOYOS)


We're all fucked! If that's the message that Louie Psihoyos would like you to derive from Racing Extinction, he certainly goes a long way toward denouncing it. There's a corny cheerfulness about this film that embeds itself into the justifiable terror and tragedy at its core early, but becomes particularly potent in its final stretches. Extinction has never looked so cosy, nor should it, as platitudes masquerading as inspirational slogans adorn the exterior walls of the U.N. Headquarters in New York, and a city full of armchair liberals gawps with glee. The only changes worth making will be inspired not by the pithy pandering that closes out Racing Extinction (set to a Sia song, no less), but by a genuine response to the genuine horror that Psihoyos presents prior to it. The world around us is dying, and we're responsible - this message is clear, if familiar, but the urgency with which it is made adds a distressing timbre to that clarity. We really are all fucked, and Racing Extinction is a colourful, memorable, slightly too comfortable declaration of despair, capped off with hope that one wonders maybe we'd be better off - less complacent - without. Artistically, there's no question that this film would be better off without it: alternately a twee TV wildlife documentary and a skin-deep expose, Psihoyos' passion is practically all there is going for his film, ensuring that the most salient points get put across even as the film around them settles for soft-peddled banality. There's nothing banal about the end of the world! Take what you will from Racing Extinction, but if you don't take that crucial sense of urgency from it, then please: since we're all fucked anyway, you can go fuck yourself.