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  In an age when comic-book superheroes rule the screen, there is arguably something special about ordinary people willing to take extraordinary risks with no assurance of success or survival. The adventure which unfolded in the Ross Sea during the 3rd Antarctic Campaign highlighted the real-world tradeoffs between ends & means, injustice & vigilantism and risk & reward.  
The captains and crews of the two Sea Shepherd ships found themselves in circumstances they couldn't have envisioned, having to decide in the moment whether the mission was more important than the immediate risk to lives. At the Edge of the World tries to provide a sense of the many elements which influenced those decisions.
One of these elements is uncertainty. From the first scene, in which the young cook is frustrated by "people assing aroung" on a huge iceberg, unaware that the ship has detoured to that iceberg for refuge from a nearby storm, incomplete information is inevitable.
The first scene also gives an impression that the crew members (flying through ice arches and jumping from ridiculous heights) are a bizarrely unusual group — and yet by the end of the film, you might come to the conclusion that these volunteers are not all that different than you. They are people who just decided that at this particular time in their lives this was a journey they wanted to take, joining the campaign from 15 countries and a wide range of professions (one of the four volunteers against whom Japan subsequently issued an arrest warrant is an E.R. doctor).
The crew members shared a common motivation: to stop the Antarctic whale hunt, which occurs despite an international ban on commercial whaling. Some, such as the young captain, were initially influenced by what they had heard; some, such as the even-younger first mate, by the images they had seen in the media; and others, such as the campaign’s leader, by what they had witnessed first-hand.
The focus of the film is on what the 46 volunteers endure and accomplish on this adventure — the story essentially begins when the viewer joins the journey. There is no narrator and the 4th wall is occasionally broken to perhaps give you a sense of being part of the filming team.
The journey, which seems dreamlike in the beginning and nightmarish by the middle, was a unique mix of errors and achievements. Among those achievements was staying alive in one of the most dangerous corners of the world, in part by adjusting to unexpected circumstances.
Early in the film, the captain of The Farley Mowat says with great passion, "It's been 20 years and 18,000 whales have been killed in a sanctuary. Something has to be done!", but when given the opportunity to unleash his most-effective weapon, circumstances push him towards a different strategy.
Also early on, the young captain of The Robert Hunter states with certainty, "I'll do whatever it takes to stop them from killing whales", but when a potential tragedy arises his overriding priority is the safety of the crew — even if it means sacrificing the mission.