Award-winning filmmaker Robert Golden's latest film is the feature doc This Good Earth, a no-nonsense call to urgent action that delves deeply into the complex issues around the climate crisis and the damage being done to, indeed, this good Earth.
Filmed largely in Dorset, UK, This Good Earth isn't the film for you if you're expecting 90-minutes of Michael Moore-styled entertainment or occasional distractions from the messages at hand. Golden wastes no time in getting his messages across with the help of a host of interviewees and an abundance of facts to support the messaging.
This Good Earth is beautifully shot, though it's abundantly clear that what's being done to our Earth is not beautiful. This Good Earth explores, quite precisely at times, how change can happen and is uncompromising in noting the corporate interests getting in the way. The film's beautiful lensing peacefully co-exists alongside farmers, scientists, doctors, academics, and expert environmentalists. All go into great detail about how our food is grown, how our food should be grown, the human diet, and the undeniable connection to the ever increasing presence of a multitude of illnesses.
To be sure, This Good Earth is often quite dry and will likely resonate most completely with those who have a basic understanding of the climate crisis and the complexities of growing food. While Golden and his interviewees do a great job of keeping things fairly basic, the newbie environmentalist will still likely be more than a little befuddled by some of the more exacting information offered here with Liz Bowles, Associate Director of Farming and Land Use for the Soil Association, being particularly impressive in terms of depth of knowledge and the ability to make that knowledge accessible to those less informed.
The Good Earth picked up accolades from the 2021 EATSA Art & Tourism Film Festival and the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival along its festival journey and has found a distribution home with indie distributor Random Media where it can hopefully draw the attention it so richly deserves.
While there is quite a bit of intelligence flowing throughout This Good Earth, it's the farmers in particular who most impress with knowledge that is both remarkable and presented quite applicably. They carry both concern about the climate crisis but also a surprising amount of cautious optimism.
I will confess that I found the "talking head" approach a bit tiresome after awhile, especially because a similar background was used for just about every interview and it was a weird contrast to the remarkably beautiful landscape shots that dominate the film.
However, modest production concerns aside This Good Earth is refreshingly uncompromising in its approach and it's rather awesome to have a filmmaker who doesn't try to distract us with entertaining interludes and unnecessary special effects. Instead, Golden simply puts forth the truth and brings in the experts to explain everything in a way that helps us understand and makes us want to do something about it all.
Insightful and engaging, This Good Earth is an effective call-to-action to become involved in the climate crisis before the damage becomes irreversible and billions of people globally are impacted because of the damage to the Earth and that damage's devastating impact to the food that sustains all of us.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic