Blue provides a shocking but necessary look at our beleaguered oceans

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      A documentary by Karina Holden. Rating unavailable

      “The ocean has always seemed a place of limitless depths,” declares one of multiple narrators in this darkly riveting new documentary. “But half of all marine species have disappeared in my own lifetime.” That narrator is 32 years old.

      Overfishing, industrial pollution, and the unimpeded spread of consumer plastics of all kinds are just some of the core subjects touched upon by Blue, a brief but potent look at the wet parts of the planet from Australian filmmaker Karina Holden. The veteran producer and director previously made TV studies of the Great Barrier Reef and other nature-minded subjects before taking crews to Hawaii, Indonesia, and embattled parts of her home country for guided tours of places that still look beautiful—especially in the panoramic cinematography here, which makes even wastelands look ravishing—but are on the very near cusp of disaster.

      From a visit with freediver Lucas Handley, the opening speaker, Holden follows the even younger Madison Stewart, a shark specialist seen swimming with the surprisingly docile creatures, on her journey to the coastal Philippines, where local activist Mark Dia takes over, talking to impoverished villagers who openly flout international laws against harvesting the majestic animals, as well as rare breeds of big tuna, which he predicts will be gone within the next few years.

      In another vignette, Dr. Jennifer Lavers induces vomiting in multiple seabirds, all of whom have bits of plastic clogging their tiny stomachs. Experts figure that by 2050, our oceans will contain more plastic than fish. It’s a dire warning, and likely to be ignored by moneyed interests, especially now that major nations have abandoned their moral compasses. Still, it’s useful for us, as individuals who still go to movie theatres, to weigh out our own priorities before harvesting that next round of sushi on the way home.

      Watch the trailer for Blue.

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