April 3, 2011

When One Doesn't Care About the Natives...

Christ, America sucks!!! 

Ok, that's not true. I know, America is, all things considered, a pretty good country. But, GOD DAMN, there is some screwy shit going down in our country! Sure, the economy is all sorts of fucked; our armed forces are fighting pointless wars; and so on and so on. But, some of the crap that's taking place on the homefront is really ridiculous. Case in point, fracking! Josh Fox's Oscar nominated doc, GasLand seeks to expose this heinous process and bring about a change. Luckily, the film is up to snuff. GasLand is pointed, at times horrifying, at times hilarious, look at how middle America is effected by all this lovely planet cracking. It's an informative look at something a lot of people probably don't know a whole lot about. 

Fracking is the method with which gas companies go about extracting the natural gas buried beneath the ground. Sounds alright, but there's one big drawback. This method requires a ton of hazardous chemicals, which have a nasty habit of staying in the ground and contaminating the ground water. This leads to such wonderful things as the water from the washing machine turning black, tap water catching on fire, and other undesirable things. Upon receiving a letter asking him to lease his land to the gas companies so that they may drill on it, Josh Fox picks up his camera and sets off into the areas of America that, once pristine and untouched, have now become overrun with well after well after well of natural gas. As he gets the stories of a myriad of beleaguered citizens, the true personal and environment cost of fracking is brought to light. 

Fox deftly weaves together all the tales that all these people have to tell, and the result is a very personal documentary, both for Fox and for the viewer. You really get a notion of the suffering each person is going through, and it all rings true. This is helped by the visual aspects of the film. Fox filmed the thing with a pretty crummy camera. All the images are grainy, shaky, and sometimes a little out of focus. It gives the whole thing a very "home movie" feel, which only strengthens the personal aspect of the picture. 

It is on the nose for a lot of it, but it had to be. GasLand is a completely biased condemnation of fracking, and when a documentary sets out to delve into a bad aspect of something, and does it this well, it's alright by me. Though it does begin to wear on you in the end with the constant sob stories of one dejected American after another, in the end, GasLand gets its message across loud and clear. It's well worth checking out. 

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