At the Edge of the World (Stone, 2008)

Director Dan Stone commented in a phone interview that the transformation of the viewer provided the through arc for this documentary about Sea Shepherd and its attempts to foil Japanese whaling vessels in the Antarctic circle.

Again, most of what I want to say about this film has already been said in fuller review (this one at Looking Closer), so I won’t repeat most of it here. End of year lists are good at revisiting or rethinking one’s immediate response, and although I haven’t screened At the Edge of the World a second time, I do think it has withstood sustained conversation.

As a documentary, the film is informative without being too polemical. It has a point of view, and its makers have (I imagine) their sympathies. That said, the documentaries I like best are the ones that trust the audience enough to simply give it the story and let the viewers grapple with it on their own terms. In an age where docugandas seem to dominate the landscape, it is nice to see a film that is rich in ideas and circumspect in presentation.

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