Thursday, December 11, 2014

Brief looks at two worthy docs

In wake of the Deepwater Horizon explosion
Director Margaret Brown's The Great Invisible skillfully details the lingering impacts of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion that killed 11 men and pumped 176 million gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico. Brown's documentary makes it clear that profits trumped safety concerns on the massive rig. The film also introduces us to a variety of people who were devastated by the explosion: a father who lost a son, fishermen who've lost their livelihoods and a chief engineer whose life has been shattered. It's interesting to hear from Kenneth Feinberg, the lawyer who ran the BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster Victim Compensation Fund. He doesn't come off as an ogre. And, of course, Brown touches on our unwavering commitment to fossil fuels as part of the problem. The Great Invisible covers lots of ground, mixing tough issues with a variety of personal views that do justice to the human side of a story that brought out the best in some people, most notably a selfless church volunteer who distributed food to those in need.

A documentary about living and working in Antarctica

The best reason to see director Anthony Powell's Antarctica: A Year on Ice involves some of the spectacular sights Powell captures: mysterious skies illuminated by the southern lights, glacial-looking landscapes and the perpetual, starry nights of a long winter. Powell also takes a look the daily lives of the people who work in this forbidding world, the several thousand who arrive for summer research and the 700 or so brave souls who stay for the winter. We meet the people who keep McMurdo Station, where the U.S. conducts research, in shape; they're folks who bring a work-a-day attitude to their unusual surroundings. Thanks to Powell, who met and married his wife at McMurdo, you don't have to test yourself against the Antarctic elements. Or if for some reason, you feel the need -- you'll know a lot about what you're letting yourself in for after seeing A Year On Ice.

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