The 21st century is brimming with
feature length documentaries that have challenged the cultural consensus. Filmmakers have examined and exposed aspects of our society through the scope of a camera lens, giving us a deeper, alternative view of the modern world.
We take a look at which of these films have had the most positive impact:
- Super-Size Me (2004)
It comes as no shock that fast food is bad for you. Independent filmmaker Morgan Spurlock famously ate nothing but
2. Earthlings (2005)
An ever-controversial film, Earthlings
3. An Inconvenient Truth (2006)
The global warning that becomes more relevant as the years go by. Former Vice-President of the United States, Al Gore’s campaign to educate us on global warming has been instrumental in shaping public opinion on the environmental movement. It is a staple of climate activism and teaching in schools, with its message being one of the most important in
4. The Cove (2009)
Perhaps the most unsettling watch on this list, this academy award winning feature presents a cruel, harsh, brutal expose of the Japanese whale and dolphin hunting season. Whilst it did not halt the practice, the unsettling scenes captured have been vital in rallying support for ocean conservation and opposition to the Japanese whaling industry.
5. Blackfish (2013)
Far harder hitting than simply “Free Willy” in real life, Blackfish brought awareness to the injustice of SeaWorld’s killer whale exhibits. The fact that these creatures are corralled for the entertainment of humans sparked outrage against amusement park chains. The direct impact of the film led to SeaWorld discontinuing their Orca exhibits and breeding programme. This documentary hits hard and SeaWorld
6. Citizen Four (2014)
Is Edward Snowden a hero, criminal or some combination of the two? Regardless of your opinion, Laura Poitras’ following of the NSA surveillance scandal has opened up a discussion to the public to decide the lengths they feel that the arm of government should reach. It is an important showing of the complicated relationship between public and government in post 9/11 America and the extent to which liberty goes.
7. A Plastic Ocean (2016)
A year before Blue Planet II brought the message to the small screen, A Plastic Ocean was the ripple to start a wave of change. The Leonardo DiCaprio produced film explores the impact of mankind’s overabundance of plastic waste and the impact on the ocean’s ecosystem. The film has been screened from UN conferences to schools across the globe. Public opinion has largely shifted in recent years to deal with this issue, and A Plastic Ocean is largely to thank for that.
By Adam Ridgley