Critics' Pick

GasLand: Part II (NR)

Documentary 120 December 31, 1969
By Sherrie Li
Three years after his Oscar-nominated anti-fracking documentary, Josh Fox returns with Gasland Part II, his banjo playing and wry narration intact. The formula and the fight are the same—and just as effectively convincing. But the sequel banks less on the sympathy of these victims and more on our outrage over the far reaches of corruption, from industry to government. The fictionalized scenario of Hollywood’s dramatization of the fracking issue, Promised Land, proves not far from plausible as Fox exposes gas companies encouraging the use of psy-ops tactics—like those soldiers use to take out insurgents—against the less-equipped opposition. It’s David versus Goliath and David is near defeat, with international protests resulting in no changes in law and Dimock, Pa.’s lawsuit against Cabot Oil and Gas, petering out into nondisclosure agreements. Fox makes all of this seem so simple that it’s surprising his message hasn’t yet led to actual change: Fracking is bad for our health, our environment, our future. He even proposes a possible alternative, a combination of wind, hydroelectric and solar power developed by Mark Jacobsen of Stanford University (though that’s sure to have its own list of pros and cons). Fox ends the doc with his own arrest for trying to record the congressional hearing on fracking in February 2012, and viewers will share in his exhaustion and frustration. With fracking going on in our own backyard in Baldwin Hills and along the San Andreas Fault line, the time appears nigh for the era of BYOW: “Bring your own water.”
Josh Fox Josh Fox, John Fenton, Calvin Tillman, Lisa Parr, Bob Parr Josh Fox HBO Documentary Films

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