Posted 12 November 2013 - 07:14 PM
Touching upon the hypocrisy of the current system and the people in power who sustain it, the film then enters into the realm of the detention centres themselves. Telephone recordings of detainees are used to recount their reality – the thoughts, feelings and experiences, which, combined with the animation, make for a powerful testimony of the psychological torment the asylum system inflicts on those it arbitrarily detains. A winner of the special jury prize at Sundance film festival, Gasland is the personal journey of Josh Fox to find out how the new Natural Gas resources are exploited across United States. Josh’s local stream in Pennsylvania is at risk of being polluted with natural gas, should the energy companies start their drilling in the local area. In a quest to find out what the potential consequences are of natural gas extraction by hydraulic fracturing, he travels across the United States, discovering one community after another whose lives have changed for the worse due to the gas extraction by this particular means. The documentary shows how a new source of energy can be exploited, and fall out of control of the very people who decide to exploit it. How money and power work against people, jeopardising their health, living space and future. Despite his repeated attempts, Josh doesn’t manage to get any interviews with any of the companies involved in carrying out the drilling, but talks to various people across the states whose water has been polluted, and their land filled with drills and processing equipment. The film is successful in showing the ugly face of money, power and the denial that is the driving force behind the proliferation of natural gas extraction by such a destructive means. While many people are scared to talk to the camera about an issue that has been changing their lands and living habits, Fox does a great job in raising the problem and bringing it to the public eye for scrutiny. However in terms of the production and aesthetics, the film has short comings that might be predictable for a début. The shots are very unclear and shaky at times, which after a while can make the viewer’s head spin. In my opinion the film was longer than necessary, and could have been shorter in length with greater impact. The narration, which is done by Fox himself, is monotonous, and considering the length of the film, makes it a struggle at timesa. On a few occasions the film seems to come to an end, simply to start along another strand of the same story, which with better editing and scripting, could have been avoided. While it might not be the best documentary in terms of conveying a message in an effective and aesthetically engaging manner, the importance of the message it tries to communicate and garner support for, is big enough to allow us to give Mr Fox the credit he deserves. asland tackles one of the symptoms of an issue which has been brewing away in the US for some – the rolling back or amendment of environmental laws for the soul benefit of a particular industry. In this case it’s the energy industry, and the extraction of natural gas through a particularly crude method, hydraulic fracturing, which has a variety of environmental and health related impacts. I feel Fox did reasonably well in his attempt to address many of the issues associated with the extraction of natural gas by this means, while attempting to communicate the extent to which this is an issue throughout the US, and potentially Europe and elsewhere in the world in the not-too-distant future. The film started off fairly strong, and has some very strong and memorable scenes, but unfortunately gets a little lost along the way. The pervasive nature of this issue meant Fox visited many places, interviewing people with similar experiences, with each confirming the same thing, and while great supporting evidence for a case against hydraulic fracturing, it made for a degree of monotony when trying to communicate with the viewing public about a very important subject. Consequently I feel the film lacked the impact it could have potentially had, had it been better edited and more thought put into how to effectively communicate the key messages around this particular issue – there were some very compelling scenes, but they were lost amongst a lot of (relatively) superfluous information and footage.Ultimately the film tackles a very important issue, and touches upon a variety of others, all of which which have gone largely unnoticed for too long, and which deserve the attention of every member of public and politician alike, and so while flawed, the film is a must-see.
To support the campaign to stop hydraulic fracturing please call me at 82371283219