Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


Trouble the Water



Rated: No rating 
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: January 9, 2009 Released by: Zeitgeist Films

Trouble the Water (in this year's Oscar race) is a devastatingly compelling documentary about the travails of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath for black residents like Kimberly and Scott Roberts.

Filmmakers Carl Deal and Tia Lessin, who've worked with the likes of Michael Moore, work around footage shot by the married couple in the impoverished Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans.

Initially, with the unsettling camcoder and television footage prior to Katrina, the experience might seem shaky and off-putting. But, the tragic hardship from nature's assault will take its toll in a cinematically, striking manner.

Both husband and wife have been scarred from their less than clean-cut lives, as Kimberly strives for a hip-hop career, and Scott working to get out of an illicit, addled existence. His face manifests the tumultuousness of their relationship, as easy-going a person as he comes across as being.

Some of the best, if most disgraceful passages include both remaining in their modest domicile with no governmental subsidy as the water rises while they take asylum in their attic. A 911 call is made with a negative response from local authorities on dispatch.

Eventually, a panel truck filled with some of their neighbors leads them away after harshly rejected from an unused Army facility with a multitude of free beds. Coming back to their "home" three weeks later, the effect is chilling as they've gotten the visual support of the filmmakers. They note the sadness of bodies found in their eroded neighborhood, which includes Kimberly's grandmother, who died in an unevacuated hospital.

Trouble the Water may not always be subtle, as it voices its pain, often through Kimberly. It's a testiment of the certitude for the human spirit and the resiliency and forgiveness for the wretchedness toward those who believe there's no place like home.

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Trouble the Water        A-                  A- 

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