UNITY | REVIEW

UNITY is a movie for planet earth, a documentary that looks at why humanity and creatures of earth cannot live in harmony or UNITY, basically why do we suck so bad and have a tendency to destroy and kill everything, we are barbarians. We are all symbiotic to the planet, humans, animals, vegetation. UNITY is told through the visual medium but is narrated by 100 known celebrities – said celebrities:

Aaron  Paul,  Adam  Levine,  Adrian Grenier, Alison Eastwood, Amanda Seyfried, Amy Smart, Anjelica Huston, Anton Yelchin, Arian Foster, Arlene Martel, Balthazar Getty, Ben  Kingsley, Ben  Whishaw, Beth  Hart, Brandon  Boyd, Caroline Goodall, Carrie-­‐Anne  Moss, Casey Affleck, Catherine Tate, Claire Forlani, Cloris Leachman, Common, Damien Mander, David Copperfield, David DeLuise, David LaChapelle, Deepak Chopra, Dianna Agron, Dr. Dre, Edward James Olmos, Ellen Burstyn, Ellen DeGeneres, Emily Deschanel, Eve Best, Famke Janssen, Freida Pinto, Geoffrey Rush, Gregory Colbert, Helen Mirren, Isabel Lucas, January Jones, Jason Mraz, Jeff Goldblum, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Tilly, Jesse Carmichael, Jessica Chastain, Joaquin Phoenix, Joe Perry, Joel Edgerton, John Paul DeJoria, Jorja Fox, Julia Ormond, Kathy Freston, Kristen Bell, Kristen Wiig, Larenz Tate, Leighton Meester, Lena Headey, Liev Schreiber, Maggie Grace, Maggie Q, Malin Akerman, Marcia Gay Harden, Marianne Williamson, Mariel Hemmingway, Marion Cotillard, Mark Strong, Martin Sheen, Matthew Modine, Matthieu Ricard, Michael Beckwith, Michael Gambon, Michelle Rodriguez, Minnie Driver, Missy Higgins, Moby, Nestor Serrano, Olivia Munn, Olivia Wilde, Pamela Anderson, Paul Watson, Persia White, Phil Donahue, Portia de Rossi, Rick Allen, Rose Byrne, Russell  Simmons,  Rutger  Hauer,  Ryan  O’Neal,  Sam  Simon,  Selena  Gomez,  Shaun  Toub,  Susan Sarandon, Tim McIlrath, Tom Hiddleston, Tony Hawk, Tony Kanal and Zoe Saldana.

UNITY has an international release date that falls on this coming Wednesday 12th August in Australia. Go HERE to find tickets in Australia and the rest of the world. UNITY will release on 12th for a single screening and then will play 13th-16th at selected sites with individual sites having the opportunity to screen it longer should they choose. It is released from Mushroom Pictures, is rated M and runs for 100mins. Now enjoy Kernel Emma’s thoughts on UNITY…….all the best……JK.

 

unity movie POSTER image
UNITY | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MOVIE POSTER IMAGE

 

BY EMMA BISHOP

It has been ten years since filmmaker Shaun Monson brought us EARTHLINGS but he is back with UNITY, an unapologetically confronting documentary with very few moments of relief. Narrated by everyone from Joaquin Phoenix to Selena Gomez, UNITYs on-going poetic script and mirage of powerful images make for a challenging and at times uncomfortable experience. Touching on themes of animal cruelty, racism and war, Monson asks audiences why, after thousands of years and technical advancements, we can’t simply get along. To call this film affecting would be an understatement and while the actual method of storytelling, for me was jarring, the content is certainly important and will stick with you long after you leave the cinema.

 

UNITY MOVIE STILL IMAGE
UNITY | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | STILL FROM THE MOVIE OF A CHILD BLOWING A BUBBLE THAT EXPLODES

 

Documentary films of this nature have been around for years, think SAMSARA, BLACKFISH and 500 YEARS LATER. Why still have we not learnt? Is it simply that humanity is beyond help? What can one actually do to align the rights of humans, animal and the environment alike? As UNITY opens we watch in horror as two bull’s line up at the meat works awaiting their impending death. The awareness of these creatures is visually devastating, challenging the consumer’s disassociation with the origin of their meat. Another scene follows where entrants in a competition must skin and serve fish which is still living and breathing in order to win. These scenes are contrasted with images of celebrities on the red carpet to explore themes of greed and consumerism; it is hard not to see the irony as these images are narrated by celebrities themselves. Alongside these graphic images, Monson attempts to look back at history and the re-occurring hopeless trend of war. He similarly links this to spirituality and the vastness of the universe which renders humans and the scale of earth insignificant. The visual communication of said messages is rather creepy and I am left anxiously awaiting whether in the film’s final scene, Jim Jones will pop up and ask me to become a member… this is unusual having spent almost 5 years as a vegetarian myself.

 

UNITY MOVIE STILL IMAGE
UNITY | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | PLANET EARTH THE SEXY BITCH

 

UNITY is jarring for its lack of solutions and lack of acknowledgement that people are in fact trying. We are given problem after problem and a strong philosophical message that we have learnt nothing from our lineage; but where does that leave us? Instead of ‘how about you have one meat free night a week to decrease mass consumption’, it’s like ‘sign up to be vegan or you are a morally unjust individual’. In understanding that the severity of these issues is so great that the film must be bold and shocking, I ultimately felt that Monson pushed this too far and will likely isolate his audiences instead of educating them. The voice of god commentary is powerful and the script is quite beautifully written but at times becomes lost as the film offers no moments of relief. The commentary is on-going and does not stop throughout the entirely of the film making it reasonably hard to digest. The use of over 100 influential people does however enhance the messages credibility and will likely help the film draw in a wider audience. There are a lot of messages in UNITY and it would be impossible to take them all with you. For me, what was particularly well communicated and equally terrible was our lack of empathy to certain animals. We have created a certain ‘hierarchy of cute’ where the superficial bullying we use on each other is projected onto animals alike. This is a subjective film and naturally will produce an array of thoughts and opinions.

 

unity CAST movie POSTER image
UNITY | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | CAST MOVIE POSTER IMAGE

 

UNITY is not a film which will resonate with all of its audience, nor is it one that intends to. It does not entertain, it educates and this education is through a particular agenda, which is not necessarily good or bad. The right message is certainly there, we cannot accept the world at the status quo. We cannot keep killing each other, animals and the environment at such a rapid rate, we do indeed have nothing to gain from this. I certainly do not at all regret seeing this film but it was a shame that we were not given some hopeful feasible solutions. I’m still not quite sure what to make of this film, but it certainly won’t be one that I forget – maybe that’s the whole point?

 

2 and a Half Pops

 

 

Kernel Emma is documentary mad and also loves foreign and arthouse movies! She is Salty’s honorary NZ writer.