Analysis Of The End Of The Line By Rupert Murray

1171 words - 5 pages

Rupert Murray’s The End of the Line focuses on the depletion of the oceans fisheries and the devastating effects it has already begun to have on ecosystems and less affluent populations. The film opens with a description of the tribulations of Newfoundland. Once possessing waters so populous with cod that one could “walk across their backs in the water,” improved technology and larger fishing vessels began to deplete the fish stocks. Despite placing a moratorium on fishing in 1992, the fisheries had already been depleted to the point of complete collapse. Similar processes are occurring around the world, as only .6% of the ocean is restricted to fishing vessels. According to the film, much of the ocean’s catch has declined by 90%; the continuation of current trends if continue, stocks will collapse by 2048.
The film could easily be criticized for exaggerating issues at some points, containing claims that the end of sea food could be realized within 50 years. The End of the Line is interesting in this regard, however, as it directly states that it is less concerned with the exact numbers. In response to claims that the fishery decline of 90% was "totally invalid" and was brought about in “haste to get a big picture,” Dalhousie University’s Jeffrey Hutchings states that “whether the number is 90, 95, 80, or 70 is irrelevant; focusing on the particulars is not helpful.” Any number regarding fish stocks is vulnerable to attack because of the difficulty of counting fish. While counting the populations in one area is a near-impossible task, fish are also capable of frequent and large-scale migration. In this regard, it is in the best interest of the film to use the most eye-catching statistics as the number will be deemed arbitrary by critics regardless. Capitalizing on the incongruities of statistics is beneficial in such cases, but critiques of the film are not unwarranted as it makes a habit of avoiding particularities.
The End of the Line at times loses sight of its role as a documentary as a result of being too unpedantic. Straddling the line of film and documentary proves to be detrimental in the case of Murray’s work. A suspenseful score and use of visually appealing montages are beneficial to engaging the audience until they reach the point at which they become distracting. While these errors only take away slightly from the documentary’s efficacy, it becomes liable to increased skepticism in its avoidance of the lower third. In film, the ‘lower third’ is placed on the bottom portion of the screen, usually containing a speakers name and position. While it may have the potential to be visually unappealing, its presence within a documentary is essential for preserving its credibility. Each speaker was introduced by narrator Ted Danson, but without a visual the viewer has no reason to respect the speaker or their argument. Nevertheless, the film manages to make a convincing argument utilizing historical examples, personal interviews with...

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