Crude (NC)

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The Independent Culture

Joe Berlinger, who made the Metallica documentary Some Kind of Monster, turns his gaze upon another kind of monster in Crude, a cool-headed indictment of the oil companies – Texaco, later Chevron – that entered Ecuador in the 1960s, dumped toxic waste in the water and left the land chronically polluted (and, it's argued, many of its inhabitants ridden with cancer).

Berlinger follows the efforts of two Ecuadorean activists and an American lawyer to bring a lawsuit against the oil giants, who make the counterclaim that the damage was done by the government-sponsored PetroEcuador. The arguments are batted back and forth, and one's sympathy for the Ecuadorean side takes only a slight wobble when Trudi Styler gets behind the cause.

A decision in the case is pending, and from the stacked shelves of documentation, which a judge will have to absorb, it looks like giving Jarndyce vs Jarndyce a run for its money.

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