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18 June 2009
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The End Of The Line (12)

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Review byMatthew Turner11/06/2009

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 90 mins

Important, decently made but also thoroughly depressing eco-doc that's high on facts and figures but fails to engage on an emotional level and can't quite deliver the required kick up the backside.

What's it all about?
Based on the book by Daily Telegraph environmental editor Charles Clover, The End of the Line is the latest in an increasingly long line of eco-docs, this time focussing on the potentially devastating effect of overfishing the world's oceans and the very real possibility that the world's fish supplies will be exhausted within 50 of our earth years. The film follows Clover as he interviews restaurateurs and politicians and also includes interviews with lifelong fishermen, scientists and ecological experts, interspersed with reams and reams of fishing-related facts.

The Good
The message is an undeniably urgent one and the film does an excellent job of laying out exactly what the problem is (the world's fish supply is dwindling at an alarming rate) and why we're in the mess we're in (we've essentially become too good at fishing and are now doing it on an industrial scale; governments don't yet care about the problem), but the solutions it offers (urge governments to create marine reserves; only buy sustainable fish) seem meagre at best and only indicate the depressing inevitability of the situation.

The film is also well shot and presents (yet another) savage indictment of corporate greed, but it also leaves you feeling utterly powerless as a result.

The Bad
The main problem with the film is that there's no emotional hook – with such an unremittingly depressing message, we need something to engage with emotionally, but the film offers nothing but facts, facts and more facts, to the point where it eventually feels like you're standing next to someone yelling, “The fish are running out!” in your face for 90 minutes.

Worth seeing?
Ultimately, The End of the Line gains an extra star purely for the importance of the issue it's addressing, but it's a thoroughly depressing film that will leave you feeling miserable, powerless and guiltily hungry for a fish finger sandwich.

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The End Of The Line (12)
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