Movie Review – The Island President

Global climate change is a particularly touchy subject, a hot bed of political grandstanding and a dog fight for people looking to hold nations accountable for their wreck-less polluting.  Some people will deny that global climate change is real and is a small problem compared to the other issues in the world.  But when you hear about a nation of the coast of India, that sits only a few meters above sea level, slowly sinking into the ocean, you have to wonder why.  The Maldives is an island nation, one where the real effect of global climate change is having the largest impact and that is the slow sinking of the majestic island nation.  A small country, one that doesn’t have so much political clout, has to face the stark reality of fixing the climate problem or face being erased from the map entirely.

The Island President is more of a showcase of the little man in the fight, the perpetual underdog that we root for in movies and in life.  Director Jon Shenk tells us the story about the struggles of then president Mohammed Nasheed and his efforts to to bring change not only to the previously, dictator controlled country, but also to bring a Global change in the way that we address Global Warming.  Propelled by some of the best use of Radiohead’s music in a long time, The Island President brings us into the fight for the Maldives to stay alive in a world where the small are overlooked and the change is as daunting as it imposing.

The documentary provides a bit of historical context to the country and it’s past, showing that change is possible even when it the country was under control of a leader who didn’t care for the people and land.  The early struggles for democracy and change are highlighted by the political struggles of those of Nasheed and fellow democratic rebels wanting change.  Being political prisoners in their own country, Nasheed ended up leading the charge for change and succeeded where so many thought that they won’t.  Upon winning the democratic election, Nasheed now has to bring a new form of hope to the people, survival.  From beautiful, cinematic shots of the crystal clear waters of a country that seems like heaven on the middle of the vast ocean, the shots are cut up with images of a city that is crumbling and eroding under the oncoming effects of Global Warming.

Nasheed’s personal story and that of the breathtaking images of the Maldives are weaved together with the political whirlwind that sweeps up Nasheed and his efforts to bring the plight of the country to the forefront of the climate debate.  There is an incredible sense of urgency from his actions, taking office the day after the election and appointing a committee to bring their agenda to those that matter, Nasheed and his group are constantly on the move from political roundtables to G8 summits, not because that is international diplomacy, but because time is a precious commodity for a country who is being swallowed by the sea.

When we watch a movie about the underdog in a fight, Nasheed embodies that true spirit of the little man in the big fight.  He has a certain presence to his politics, on one hand he is a man of short stature and a certain pitch in his voice that is usually reserved for those wide-eyed, young politicos that want to do something big.  Then when you see him at the table fighting for Carbon Emission standards, he is strong, sophisticated and able to lean on the moral issues to get people to side with him.  It is incredible to watch him stand his ground and broker deals across the board, even managing to sway the hearts of the public and becoming the poster child for change.  He is charismatic and brilliant, something that he needs to be in order to make change in this world.

The Island President makes you care about what happens to the Maldives and Nasheed’s vision for a country who is on the brink of disappearing.  An island paradise of white, sandy beaches and dotted with the reminder of past indiscretions from a leader who did everything to oppose democracy and change.  Nasheed’s story and that of the island, is the true reason to see this documentary.  You will know more about this country leaving the theater than you did before you entered it.  A fast paced film with moments of stoppage from the more weighted political bantering that seems to be a parallel to the slowness of change itself.  But you will feel uplifted and involved in the climate debate when you see firsthand, those that are fighting to survive.

Rating: 4.5/5

*images via RottenTomatoes

About Nick
I am just another blogger putting his thoughts into a website. My love is movies so most of my musings will be movie related. I work as an online marketer for an advertising company and when I am not earning a paycheck, I moonlight as a vigilante film blogger.

One Response to Movie Review – The Island President

  1. Pingback: Movie of the Day – The Island President | Another Plot Device

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