Entertaining Myself (Part Two).
Well, another week ends, and as it does, I review another movie. In fact, I watched another 2011 Academy Award nominated documentary: Gasland.* This film charts the meteoric increase of natural gas drilling across the continental US, which, it is hoped, will cure America of her need for foreign oil, despite some epic environmental costs (Editor’s note: continents are feminine?).
Josh Fox (writer and director of Gasland), receives a letter from a natural gas driller, offering him a huge bounty to lease his family’s land to search for natural gas. This triggers a cross country investigation by the first time film maker, and he takes us into Gasland: the huge areas of the US that have been environmentally fingerbanged by this process (particularly focusing on a process called ‘hydraulic fracturing’, which is every bit as terrible as it sounds). And this isn’t just a green, hippy ‘save the llamas’ type of crusade: people are getting horrifically ill, and the proof is (seemingly) very obvious.
All in all, this film is pretty good. The subject matter is compelling, the storytelling is rich, and the cinematography is excellent (if, at times, a little art-for-arts-sake). And Fox is a genuinely interesting guy, even if he puts himself on camera a little too much (the Michael Moore/Morgan Spurlock school of documentary making).
If documentary making doesn’t work out for him, he’s a hell of a narrator - he is like a white Morgan Freeman, and at times I wanted to lick his voice. There are also incredible scenes of people literally lighting their tap water on fire - as it has been so badly corrupted by natural gas drilling - which are worth the price of admission alone. But ultimately, the film is about 20-30 minutes too long, and a little too Josh heavy.
Recommended. 7 toes out of a possible 10.
*(For the record, I’ve seen the 2011 Academy Award winning doco Inside Job. Meh. It’s was alright, but not nearly as good as Restrepo).