A collection of human stories woven into a tale of the destruction wrought by the oil industry on Canada's tar sands.
The latest film about the Alberta tar sands adds little to the thesis already expounded in Dirty Oil and Petropolis. However, the desecration of an area the size of England to supply US fuel needs is a scandal worthy of denunciation and the First Nation tribal leaders of Fort Chipewyan prove as passionate in their criticism of the petro companies as environmentalist Kevin Timoney and doctor John O’Connor, whose revelations about carcinogenic pollution and disease have been blithely disregarded by industrial and political bigwigs alike. Alan Kohl’s aerial views of the scarred landscape are exceptional, but the animated interludes are less effective, while director Shannon Walsh often vacillates between poignant human interest stories and hard-hitting eco-activism.
Walsh's documentary is shot with flair but its message and innovative touches just miss the mark.
Reviewed by Patrick Peters