Sharkwater: Endangered Species Upstaged by Self-Appointed Savior in a Speedo

As cinema progresses past some of the awareness-raising limitations of conventional journalism, we're watching more docs on genocide, abortion, global warming, that whole pig-fuck of a war—and just when you thought it was safe to take what's in the water for granted, illegal finning operations that are wiping out the shark population. Toronto-based wildlife photographer and first-time filmmaker Rob Stewart spent five years on this ode to his lifelong aquatic obsession, which became a platform after Stewart fell in with Greenpeace co-founder Paul Watson and his merry crew of boat-ramming eco-pirates. Rather than paint a disembodied, March of the Penguins–style nature portrait—or what might have been fantastic in an unbiased director's hands: a film about Watson's fanatical crusade—Stewart is his own star, a would-be Speedo model and whoa-dude narrator whose droning reflections get in the way of his stunning underwater cinematography. Stewart has made a vain polemic that never addresses the finning industry's deep-seated cultural significance in Asia (where, rightly or wrongly, shark soup is a symbol of economic prestige), nor elaborates on how the disrupted ecosystem affects us humans.

 
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