TROUBLE THE WATER

NR

-By David Noh


For movie details, please click here.

There have been a number of films about the national disaster and scandal of Hurricane Katrina—but none have put you as directly into the eye of that storm as Trouble the Water. The official directors of this documentary—Tia Lessin and Carl Deal—should really share helming credit with Kimberly Roberts, the woman at the center of their film, whose video footage of the encroaching and then engulfing torrent provides the hair-raising dramatic meat of the movie.

Roberts was among the thousands of New Orleans residents unable to flee the city and she, her husband Scott, family and friends were forced to hole up in the attic of their deluged house as the water rose ever higher. Although shaky and amateurish, her video captures not only the terror of the moment, but the deeply human responses of the stranded. A neighbor who had formerly been on bad terms with Scott emerges as a hero, rescuing people in shoulder-deep water with a boxer’s punching bag. Roberts lost an uncle and her grandmother in the disaster, and these tragedies are interspersed with infuriating interviews with government officials and FEMA representatives whose hapless words and ineptitude are eternally, shamefully preserved. (President Bush is seen, ensconced at some country club during another national disaster, mouthing ineffectual inanities.)

At one point, Scott unsuccessfully entreats soldiers at an unused naval barracks to provide shelter for his neighbors and practically finds himself facing down gun barrels. And, yes, we see the miserable hordes of people who were forced to find shelter at the Superdome, causing one to wonder when, exactly, the United States became a Third World country. Through it all, Kimberly’s indomitable survivor’s spirit shines though, a literal beacon of hope and comfort to the dispossessed surrounding her. When she and her husband find a momentary out-of-state refuge through the kindness of friends, the manicured lawns and well-kept houses of their new neighborhood strike them as a paradise after what they’ve experienced (“Black folk live here?”). Their hostess rants meaningfully about refusing to let her son enlist to serve a country so indifferent to the plight of the poor and disenfranchised. The filmmakers end things with a searingly autobiographical rap by Roberts, proving, like all true artists, that she is able to integrate her very hard-knock life’s experience—however harrowing—into something deeply meaningful.



Save | E-mail | Print | Most Popular | RSS | Reprints

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

John Wick
Film Review: John Wick

Retired hit man seeks revenge on Russian mob in an above-average action film. More »

Fury Review
Film Review: Fury

American tanks fight superior German forces in the closing days of World War II. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here