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film review

Atlantic is one-sided, with no voice given to the politicians who balance big and small interests, but the overall message is well delivered.

The oceans giveth and the oceans take away, as we saw all too well with the recent offshore actioner Deepwater Horizon. Where that blockbuster dramatized an oil-rig disaster in widescreen ways, the sea-sprayed documentary Atlantic (which screens Sunday as part of the Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival) is explosive in a more subtle way. The Irish director Risteard O'Domhnaill makes a case for the small communities and fishermen who depend on the bounty of the Atlantic in Norway, Newfoundland and Ireland for their livelihood. Against a poignant Celtic music soundtrack, O'Domhnaill shows the damage done by seismic shootings, secretive supertrawlers and high-up political deal making – the fiddler must be paid, and more often it is the small coastal traditions and salt-water ways of life that suffer the cost of international fishing agreements and the drill-baby-drill mentality of oil-and-gas concerns. The humanist doc is one-sided, with no voice given to the politicians who balance big and small interests, but the overall message of short-term economic gain versus long-term sustainability is well delivered (if obvious).