The film opens with a voice over introduction by Naomi Klein who is an activist, filmmaker and author of the book this documentary is inspired by. She begins "Can I be honest with you? I've always kind of hated films about climate change," and goes on to talk about how she doesn't really care about polar bears. I read this as an attempt to get onside with people who wouldn't ordinarily watch films about climate change. It's trying to say that this is not just another documentary about the polar bears and rising sea level and fossil fuels. Which it isn’t exactly. But it’s also not as contrived as this opening and it soon stops trying to awkwardly fill the position of ‘innovative documentary’. She later opens into the rest of the film by asking, "What if even greenhouse gases aren't the problem, what if the real problem is a story?" Of course, greenhouse gases are the problem. This statement is ridiculous when taken out of context, but in context it sets up the documentary as an exploration of the narratives surrounding climate change.
The documentary continues to follow Klein as she visits communities around the globe who are resisting industrial developments in their backyards. She starts with the tar sands of Fort McMurray in her own region of Alberta, Canada. Most of the time weight in the film goes to Canada but she also visits New York, Greece, India, China and Germany.
In each place there are interviews with the residents who are directly being affected by various changes to the existing harmony between people and the land. Each local example builds into the narrative of the documentary; namely that social inequality indicates susceptibility to instruments of climate change through economic dominance. The only breaks in the narrative of the documentary (and therefore the editing) were the places in which they included opposing opinions in an issue. For example, in an interview with the mayor of a town in Greece that was dealing with a proposed gold mine, he claims that "the police don't knock on someone's door without a reason". The same section of the documentary primarily deals with people who were being arrested in connection with protests against the goldmine. The documentary didn't really address this and I thought that more explanation in the subtitling might have helped these sections sit more comfortably in the flow of the documentary.
Overall, the documentary is technically sound and it deals with an incredibly important subject matter. Its fresh perspective focusing on social narratives means that it is easy to become emotionally invested in. It makes new connections between between industrial development, economic inequality and the sustainability of our environmental impact to drive home a new way of looking at climate change.