A blog dealing with either the joy of cinema or the agony of cinema--nothing in between.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
GasLand is an Oscar nominated documentary from this past year that serves as an expose (what else?) of domestic natural gas drilling. Director Josh Fox begins his film by telling a story of how a few years back, he was informed that his family's land in rural Pennsylvania was located on a natural gas reserve and a drilling company offered him near $100,000 to drill on the land. After researching it a bit, he found local horror stories of contaminated drinking water, water that lights on fire, and people getting sick. After turning down the offer, Fox set out across the country to hear more similar stories of people who have been affected by drilling (we see a lot of shots of people setting their tap water on fire). We then learn about the drilling process and meet some politicians, environmentalists, and scientists who are seeking to make changes to the process. GasLand functions well as a documentary with Fox with his baseball cap and banjo acting as a reserved interviewer and occasionally offering a folksy bluegrass tune, sometimes while wearing a gas mask on a drill site for effect. I also liked his matter of fact narration, which was laid back and direct and not in your face. His film also serves as a nice travelogue with his camera offering some beautiful shots of our country contrasted with the ugly drilling equipment placed on so much of our land. The film tends to become somewhat redundant, which is probably inevitable, and I don't see the point of using laundry lists of chemicals used in drilling which is done several times. However, Fox still does his best to liven things up. I didn't really buy that he was a regular guy who just set out to make a movie. He obviously has some film experience. Still this is a great looking film that addresses an important issue and (yawn) should serve as a wakeup call to how we treat our country and how we get our energy.