Ocean Crises Lurk in End of the Line


We’re overwhelmed by crises these days (financial, terrorist, climate, mid-life), and, as if we needed to be depressed any further, each seems to leave a four-alarm doc in its wake. Unknown White Male director Rupert Murray’s convincing and emotive adjunct to the doomsday genre—based on British journo Charles Clover’s book of the same name, subtitled “How Overfishing Is Changing the World and What We Eat”—posits that seafood will be extinct by 2048. “Cod, dammit!” the Newfoundlanders might say, as their economy’s vital whitefish population has been nearly decimated by high-tech fishing technologies, with which biology can’t keep up. Nobu, depicted to be as villainous as McDonald’s was in Super Size Me, refuses to take bluefin tuna off its menu, but promises to include a footnote encouraging patrons not to eat what’s officially an endangered species. Narrated by Ted Danson, The End of the Line is a free-form splash of jaw-dropping graphs, impressively accredited talking heads, and sumptuously shot portraits of natural beauty and decay, overdramatically scored to symphonic and other intense musical attacks. Practical advice follows (eat anchovies!), but the real question remains: What new cliché must we invent to replace the now inaccurate “plenty of fish in the sea”?