StormLapse Film Review

★★★★

Directed by: #ChadCowan

Documentary Film Review by #ChrisBuick



Filmed throughout America’s Great Plains across an area known as “Tornado Alley”, Stormlapse is a non-narrative documentary comprised of several 8K time-lapse videos, filmed and edited by photographer and filmmaker Chad Cowan, who has spent six years and travelled over one hundred and fifty thousand miles capturing this collection of high-resolution scenes that demonstrate the immense beauty of nature through the extreme and violent power of supercell thunderstorms and tornadoes.


For as much as the concept is a simple one, it is also extremely effective. The film showcases everything from starry skies, beautiful sunsets, astounding cloud formations, powerful tornados and magnificent thunderstorms. At times, the imagery seems unbelievable, with some sequences looking simply like artwork come to life, scenes you would think only possible through computer generated imagery. One sequence in particular where tornadoes dance around each other in the gloomy sky is almost like watching creatures from another world.


Severe weather has been a lifelong obsession of Cowan, who has been chasing thunderstorms and such ever since he was able to drive and as a result has had his work published globally multiple times in movies, advertisements and news outlets. Stormlapse is a film positively teeming with passion, and what Cowan’s hard work and dedication to his project has produced is an awe-inspiring and equally humbling tribute to our skies. Cowan manages to easily convey the wonder of these atmospheric events and allow us to see their beauty like he does in this evocative display.


The film does bring about sense of fatigue as it gets closer to the end of its two-hour run-time, with some images not quite making the desired impact as well as others. The soundtrack for the most part of the film is a brilliant accompaniment to the visuals, with the score rising and falling as the film transitions from the beautiful to the intense, however it does become very slightly monotonous and repetitive as the film progresses. Some of the switches to handheld footage can also be too sharp of a turn, almost bringing you out of the piece entirely. But ultimately, the film lets the imagery speak for itself, and it’s not long before you are once again entranced.


In a time when the very future of our natural world is at the centre of intense debate, Stormlapse is a reminder of how unbelievable our world can be and might give viewers a newfound sense of appreciation every time they look up.