180 Degrees South Is a documentary style movie from 2010 that focuses on a journey made by two accomplished businessmen, and how it was recreated. These businessmen/activists are Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins, founders of Colombia and North Face respectively. They made their trip from Ventura, California, to Patagonia, Chile, before either of them had made their companies. After Jeff Johnson, the protagonist of sorts, finds tapes of this old adventure, he decides that he wants to do this too.
The cast in this movie is small yet fantastic. It encompasses your average man, Jeff Johnson, who decides to make this journey, two philanthropists and CEOs, Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins, a surf instructor from Easter Island known as Makohe, and a few other friends and people of the world along the way.
The movies visual approach is absolutely stunning. It’s filmed like most documentaries, in a personal sort of way, but at points is also filmed like a blog. There are long stretches at sea where the story becomes more personal through the way it is filmed and how Jeff speaks to the camera. The camera shots of Patagonia itself are beautiful, and the whole movie is recorded masterfully, as if it was made by some of the best cinematographers in the modern world.
Another thing that this movie put across subtly yet superbly is the music. The movie plunges you into it, making the viewer think that this may be a climate change propaganda movie, or something along those lines, but as soon as you can think that the music comes in. Made by Ugly Casanova, Mason Jennings, and James Mercer, this music spins itself around the story and blends with it. All of the music seems very chill and natural, as if it could’ve been playing while the film was being shot. There could be some things wrong with this film, perhaps it all seems a bit amateur, but the music absolutely makes up for it.
In the end the movie has a satisfying conclusion, but it leaves the viewer wanting more. It submerges you into a simple and primal world and then, when it has reached its ending, drags you out of it back into reality. It inspires you to do better for the world in a non-proselytizing way, and it makes you feel as if you could make a difference.
Everything in this movie comes together in a good mix, and it makes you wish that you could be in the character’s places. It leaves you with a sad, yet good feeling of hope for the world itself.