Review – GasLand

Depressing in its telling but motivating in what it leaves in you.

I missed this doco during BIFF – it was clashing with something and opted against this controversial journey documented by Josh Fox.

Often in docos I am more interested in the motivators (of the documenter and the documented) than the story they actually tell. This was one of those docos for me. Fox owns a property in Pensilvania and had received an offer for drilling rights on his property. He decided to find out what the outcomes might be if he signed – what he found he didn’t like, and documented his voyage of discovery.

It is worth nothing that this piece is entirely from the side of Fox and those opposed the drilling. As such, often the editing is extremely unflattering and detrimental to the gas companies. There is certainly a problem but it was the motivation of the companies involved and the power of their money and as a consequence, their reach, that I found incredibly depressing. I am certainly concerned that there can be such negative impacts on millions for the benefit of some – and that rings true for what recently occured in Queensland, where high levels of carcinogenic chemicals were reported in water around the coal seam gas exploration sites. Just yesterday, Farmers on the Darling Downs locked out exploration teams. From what I have read, it is a slightly different process to the US, but the drive of shareholder returns > all it seems these days. (Oh I am starting to sound like a Socialist Panda). In truth, I don’t trust the government or “the corporations.”

It is a personal journey.
The style – often it costs a lot to have production look that rough – this felt authentic.
The people Fox meets – often their abiding sense of humour.
The frustrations people feel and the clear lines in government.

Too one-sided for me to really love this doco.
When it went from journey to preaching/activist it lost it power for me.

This is a long doco, that I found dragging. The same over and over – but then that is the point he is trying to make. That being said, I wouldn’t be revisiting this show again any time soon. If it does anything well, it makes the audience want to understand more.


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