fbpx
Articles header

DVD Review: Trouble the Water

25 Aug 2009

Poster

Oscar-Nominated Documentary about Hurricane Katrina Comes to DVD

On August 28, 2005, with Hurricane Katrina bearing down on the New Orleans , Scott and Kimberly Rivers Roberts made the fateful decision to weather the storm instead of evacuate. Armed with a video camera, Kim started wandering around their Lower Ninth Ward neighborhood, interviewing friends and relatives who had also chosen to stay in the city.

It is readily apparent from watching the pre-landfall footage that none of them anticipated the dire struggle for survival which was about to unfold. Not only did they expect the levees to hold like they had for every storm since the Great Flood of 1927, but they had no reason to suspect they’d be utterly abandoned by local, state and federal authorities in the event of a massive natural disaster.

But as we all know, that’s precisely what happened, and thousands of suddenly-homeless citizens ended up stranded for days on end without any sustenance. They were forced to fend for themselves during a triple-digit heat wave, while awaiting the proverbial cavalry which never arrived.

Trouble the Water, nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Documentary category, is a shocking expose’ which enables you to be a fly on the crumbling levee walls as Kim and her husband shift from carefree observers into survival mode. In virtually the blink of an eye, the atmosphere goes from ominous to desperate as the water level rises so precipitously that no one has a chance to make a dash for higher ground on foot.

Although the Roberts lived to tell the tale, the same can’t be said for all the subjects of their home movie. For example, the camera captures their utter dismay two weeks after the hurricane passed, when they enter the house of Kim’s uncle, who had been interviewed earlier, only to find his decomposing corpse lying in the living room. Other horror stories follow, such as the sight of an acquaintance’s aging mother whose body had been left behind with dozens of other patients in a hospital turned morgue.

Equally-effectively chronicled is the constant frustration the couple encountered in dealing with FEMA bureaucrats who had the nerve to ask for documents obviously washed away. No wonder so many of the victims ended up broke, depressed, unemployed and no longer able to trust their own government.

There’s a telling scene towards the end of the picture, featuring a displaced woman counseling her son who wants to enter the military. “You’re not going to fight for a country that doesn’t give a damn about you,” she declares matter-of-factly. “No way!” Raw, unfiltered and expletive-laced, but a brutally-honest reminder of what life has been like for the least fortunate victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Excellent (4 stars)
Unrated
Running time: 96 minutes
Studio: Zeitgeist Films

DVD Extras: Deleted and extended scenes, conversations with the directors, subjects, film critic Richard Roeper and producer Danny Glover, coverage of the film at the Democratic National Convention, and the theatrical trailer.

See trailer

Search Site

Latest Articles

Apr 30, 2020

Finding Sally: HotDocs features Tamara Mariam Dawit’s intergenerational journey of remembrance and reckoning

in Movies by Meres J. Weche
Each year, the Hot Docs documentary festival — the largest in North America —… Read more >>
Feb 01, 2020

From LEGOs to Legacy: Ekow Nimako envisions Africa’s bright future

in Arts by Adele Ambrose
The AGA KHAN Museum presents Caravans of Gold Fragments in Time, from September… Read more >>
Nov 23, 2019

The Last Black Man in San Francisco — a tale of community

in Movies by Adele Ambrose
The Last Black Man in San Francisco marks the feature-length directorial debut… Read more >>
Oct 21, 2019

Illustrator Yasmeen Souffrant on designing your own path

in Careers & Workplace by Meres J. Weche
Montreal native and Haitian-Canadian, Yasmeen Souffrant, has loved drawing from… Read more >>
Oct 02, 2019

Finding agency through the lens

in Arts by Meres J. Weche
An interview with Sandrine Colard — curator of The Way She Looks photography… Read more >>

Latest on Instagram

Featured Events

No events found.

Join Our Mailing List

Find a Job

Subscribe to podcast

AfroToronto.com participates in affiliate marketing programs, which means we may earn a commission if you purchase an item featured on our site. These affiliate links, along with advertisements, support us and they come to no expense for you.

Privacy Policy | Member Access

Copyright © 2005-2020 Culture Shox Media. All rights reserved unless otherwise stated.