Movie Review – Hadwin’s Judgement (2015)


Movie Synopsis:

This was a Canadian documentary on a highly important subject, which took the approach of looking at deforestation in the British Columbia rain forests from the point of view of a logging expert, who becomes disgusted with the industry he works within.  We follow the escapades of Hadwin, through the eyes of associates, colleagues, and neighbours, and see how his decision to leave the industry becomes a personal crusade to try and change the course of events in British Columbia, and beyond.

Movie Review:

This was an interesting documentary, with the approach taken that an actor standing in for Hadwin is followed around, and we become one with the forest in B.C., while we learn about his life and the forest from other speakers who join the conversation.  Often their comments are layered over the scenes of Hadwin, at peace in the forest, or looking anguished as he thinks of deforestation.  Certainly this approach to the documentary was an effective one, particularly when the audience saw the shots showing the true majesty of the forest.

The documentary succeeds when showcasing these beautiful pictures of the B.C. forest.  Furthermore, when the film goes into the Indigenous community of the Nisga’a First Nation, and interviews people who are very close to the land around them, the power of the film also resonates.

Another powerful sequence in the film occurs when we actually see destruction occurring, including a section several minutes long, where we see large tree after large tree cut in a clearcut fashion.  This was paired up with an explanation of where Hadwin really becomes disillusioned with his industry, and was a strong visual to help us really understand what he may have been feeling.

This praise all being said, a couple of detractions to this documentary.  Although it was very thoughtful, and at times this made sense, the pacing did feel somewhat slow in parts.  Furthermore, the conclusion of the documentary left the viewer somewhat hanging.  We spent a lot of time learning about this character, and trying to understand his motives.  Certainly the closing was mysterious.  However, the filmmakers did not leave us with a good sense of what Hadwin’s overall impact really was, both in Indigenous communities, and with the mainstream environmental movement in Canada.  This seemed like unnecessary loose ends that left the viewer wondering.

Overall, a documentary that is educational and thoughtful, definitely worth watching.

Overall: 3.5 stars out of 5 stars.