Crude (Review)

Knock-your-socks-off documentary will leave you speechless

Dec 11, 2009 at 2:06 pm

Documentary filmmaker Joe Berlinger travels to various locations in Ecuador in order to show the extensive damage wreaked by Texaco/Chevron, a company whose negligence and greed led to the raping of a 1,700-square-mile area of the Amazon rain forest — now called the "cancer death zone"— and dumped 18 billion gallons of oil and toxic waste. Some of the lasting effects of the vast oil pits left behind by the oil corporation (which still denies any wrongdoing) include: contaminated drinking water, a place where most babies are born with skin disease, a skyrocketed cancer rate and a cultural collapse that has all but wiped out Ecuador's indigenous Cofan tribe.

Berlinger follows the 14-year-long “Amazon Chernobyl” class-action lawsuit led by Steven Donziger, a charismatic New York attorney and joined by the equally dynamic Ecuadorian lead attorney for the Aquinda plaintiffs, Pablo Fajardo. The result is an infuriating depiction of a greedy, dishonest and anti-humanist company whose careless and mean-spirited actions are symbolic of a systematic approach by corporations to cannibalize the earth in the pursuit of fleeting profits. A $27.3 billion price tag looms over the unresolved Ecuadorian remediation lawsuit against Chevron for the company to pay for clean-up costs, damages and compensation. It’s a figure that barely scratches the surface of the irreparable damage that the company has done to what was once a peaceful and healthy environment. Crude is a knock-your-socks-off documentary that will leave you speechless. Grade: A

Opens Dec. 11. Check out theaters and show times, see more photos from the film and get theater details here.