Mixed-Positive Review in “Documentary Round-Up” by Avi Offer.

Reviews for September 15th, 2023 Documentary Round-Up

Canary is an illuminating, but only mildly engaging documentary about Dr. Lonnie Thompson, a paleoclimatologist and glaciologist who studies the way that climate change has affected glaciers throughout the span of many years. Co-directors Danny O'Malley and Alex Rivest take a rather conventional approach to telling Dr. Thompson's story while combining talking head interviews with archival footage. You'll learn little about his childhood growing up in rural West Virginia, how he studied coal mining and eventually switched his focus of study to glaciers. Since discovering indisputable hard evidence of climate change, he's been trying to sound the alarm about global warming, but initially, his warnings fell on deaf ears. Despite his setbacks, i.e. health issues that required him to have a heart transplant, he continued to go back to the glaciers. He never gave up on his quest to investigate climate change nor his passion for glaciology and paleoclimatology. He's like a brave warrior who's justifiably compared to Indiana Jones. It's fascinating to learn how much money and effort it takes to get samples of glacier ice. It's not as simple as it sounds, and it takes heavy machinery that's not easy to transport. To be fair, Canary squanders its opportunity to be an exhilarating spectacle during the scenes on the glaciers. There's some breathtaking scenery, but not enough suspense or thrills to elevate the documentary above mediocrity. Even the interview with Dr. Thompason, his wife, who's also a scientist, and others are somewhat informative without being profound or cutting too deep. At a running time of 1 hour 44 minutes, Canary opens via Oscilloscope Laboratories at Village East by Angelika.