Directed by Trish Dolman
In the slew of new releases that hit the shelves of video stores across Toronto each Tuesday it is easy enough to forget about some excellent Canadian films that from time to time get lost in the shuffle of the latest Hollywood blockbuster. Out today on DVD from our friends at eOne films is a film that after a successful run at this year’s Hot Docs festival as well as a short run at our very own TIFF Bell Lightbox is now available for everyone to see. It’s time for “Eco-Pirate: The Story Of Paul Watson”.
“Eco-Pirate: The Story Of Paul Watson” is about a man on a mission to save the planet and its oceans. Part Captain Nemo, part Grizzly Man, the film follows Watson in the act as he repeatedly flouts the law, so that he may apprehend what he sees as the more serious law-breakers; the illegal poachers of the world. From the genesis of Greenpeace to the sinking of a pirate whaling ship off Portugal, from clashes with fisherman in the Galapagos to Watson’s recent headline-grabbing battles with the Japanese whaling fleet in Antarctica.
Many, many years ago I remember my mother once telling me that “Two Wrongs, don’t make a Right”, just don’t tell that to Paul Watson. “Eco-Pirate: The Story Of Paul Watson” the film all depends on your perspective. On one end he is a staunch environmentalist, fighting for the cause of the whales and protection of the oceans and any and all creatures that live in it. On the other side of coin he is an arrogant, self involved, self promoter who is more concerned with his cause then the people who are the closest to him. Director Trish Dolman does an effective job with telling his life story and even though the film does position Watson as a dedicated activist and a hero, she doesn’t ignore his glaring character flaws and the wreckage that he has created. The debate on the validity of his actions is one best left for another day, but as we track his beginnings in Greenpeace along his eventual separation from the group in founding the more radical Sea Sheppard organization we are treated to a fascinating tale of man with an unflappable dedication to his cause regard less of what the consequences may be.
Ultimately the real strength of the film is that we get to see Paul Watson the man, in a fairly unedited way. Even some of his loudest supporters can’t necessarily get behind some of the actions that he is taking, but they all admire his dedication.
“Eco-Pirate: The Story Of Paul Watson” is a film that when you wash away the political and environmental issues that he is ultimately fighting for, you get a story about a man. You don’t necessarily like the man all that much, but you know in your heart of hearts that life would be a lot less interesting without stories of men like Paul Watson.
4 out of 5 stars.
“Eco-Pirate: The Story Of Paul Watson” is available at video stores across Toronto; click here for a list of some of the finer independent video stores near you.
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