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Dirty Oil

By HENRY STERN
[ONE NIGHT ONLY, DIRECTOR ATTENDING] Ah, the glory of Canada, our civilized and globally conscious northern neighbor that’s the fallback home for Americans fearing Sarah Palin could one day be president. Before you pack your bags for this benighted nation, watch Dirty Oil, a 73-minute documentary that details an environmental menace emanating from Canada that would send Palin into “Drill Baby Drill” paroxysms of joy. That menace is the Alberta tar sands. And if you’ve never heard of them, this film lays out a measured case of how the short-term energy needs sated by this Albertan oil source are greatly outweighed by the destruction of human health and area habitat—plus the pollution created by Midwest refineries that process this crap. Unlike so many “we’re greener than you” documentaries, this film is not overwrought in dealing intelligently with multiple issues, most notably the David vs. Goliath struggle of Canada’s First Nations to stop the devastation. (There’s even a soft-spoken crusading doctor and a wonderfully named villain in Syncrude. Perhaps “Deathsource” was already taken as a corporate name.) The film freights the issue with one too many ills when it cites the high number of highway fatalities for tar sands workers on their commute. But that’s one small quibble in a documentary that ends on an positive note by challenging viewers to liken the environmental challenge ahead to FDR’s call in 1942 for what was then unimagined levels of wartime production. Substitute wind energy on that scale, and the filmmakers say the tar sands would no longer be needed.
 

Special Note

Bagdad Theater. 6:30 pm Wednesday, Feb. 9. Director Leslie Iwerks will answer questions after the screening.
 
  • Genres: Documentary
  • Running Time: 73 minutes
  • Release Date: Wednesday, February 9, 2011
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • Critic's Score: 81
  • Starring: Neve Campbell [Narrator]
  • Directed by: Leslie Iwerks [Director], Leslie Iwerks [Screenwriter], Phil Alberstat [Producer], Jeff Bowler [Producer], Randy Bradshaw [Producer], Mark Cranwell [Producer], Mike Shields [Original Music], Suki Medencevic [Cinematographer], Leslie Iwerks [Film Editor]
  • Watch the trailer
 

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  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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