By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –
Of the Oscar-nominated docs, this is probably the least known in a category that is obscure to most.However, when the first water faucet catches on fire, it’s easy to see why this documentary was considered important.You don’t mess with people’s water, you just don’t.
And when this starts happening, prepare to get some flak
Filmmaker Josh Fox goes on a quest around the country when he begins to notice some irregularities in his water after a Natural Gas Company set up operations nearby.When horror stories start surfacing throughout his area, he goes on a crusade across America to document what having a natural gas operation in your backyard means for your quality of life.A lot of time, it means your water turns into super-poison. This probably won’t turn you into a superhero.
Obviously, this story is important, and deserving of a toast all its own.Fox builds a devastating case against Natural Gas and our hamstrung EPA, leading all the way to an infuriating Congress subcommittee meeting and a definite call to action.
Along the way, he shows some movie-making flair.He intercuts gorgeous road trip footage all around the U.S. with his interviews, underscoring the conservationist points they make.I also took a shining to the American traditional folk music he often uses.
After watching Gasland, I was reminded more than anything of Michael Moore’s debut, Roger and Me.This is both good and bad.You have to love the tenacity in building evidence and emotion to the point that something may be done about the issue.
The bad, which invariably makes you wince and take a drink, is all of the editorializing.When this is coming from a largely unnecessary voiceover, it’s even more annoying.Let your interviews and images do the talking for you, and it’s even more likely you’ll be taken seriously.
While lacking the polished approach of Inside Job or the visceral punch of Restrepo, this belongs alongside them as one of the year’s best documentaries.Watch and learn.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time something catches on fire
Take a Drink: whenever somebody says “fracking”
Drink a Shot: each time a Congressman or Businessman says something despicable