Crude

"Very Good"

Crude Review


This intense documentary tells a hugely important story that's packed with compelling characters and situations. Although a repetitive structure and a sense of agonising futility conspire to undermine the vital lessons it has to teach us.

Starting in the early 1960s, Texaco began drilling for oil in Ecuador's Amazon rainforest, displacing indigenous groups with polluted rivers and causing health problems for generations. In 1993, the poor residents of this area filed a class-action suit against Texaco (now owned by Chevron), which has been dragging through the courts ever since, delayed by lawyers and Ecuador's political instability. Chevron denies all blame, pointing the finger at PetroEcuador, the nationalised company that assumed ownership of the drilling sites in the 1990s. But human rights activists and lawyers argue otherwise.

The film follows the work of two lawyers arguing the case against Chevron: the American Donziger and the Ecuadorian Fajardo. These guys make a great team, and the cameras capture their interaction and camaraderie in some very testy situations in the isolated rainforest, the capital Quito and several American cities. They eventually attract rainforest activist Styler and her husband Sting to their cause. Not to mention a major spread in Vanity Fair and a hero award from CNN.

But will all of this public attention change anything? These essentially powerless people are taking on one of the biggest corporations on earth, with slippery-tongued lawyers and experts who constantly shift blame and lobby governments to rule in their favour. The raw fact is that if Chevron-Texaco had done anything like this in America there would be people in prison as a result.

Filmmaker Berlinger assembles this film like an international thriller, following these people as they battle against a system weighted against them.

They get a huge break with the 2006 election of populist Correa as Ecuador's president, and indeed several rulings have gone in their favour since then. The film wobbles a bit in its insistence on showing us every back-and-forth event over these years, which gets a bit tedious as we soon understand how intractable the situation is. But it's such an important, moving story that we come away feeling like we want to do something to help.



Crude

Facts and Figures

Run time: 105 mins

In Theaters: Friday 15th January 2010

Box Office USA: $0.2M

Distributed by: First Run Features

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Fresh: 61 Rotten: 3

IMDB: 7.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Michael Bonfiglio, J.R. DeLeon,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.