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USA 2010
Directed by
Josh Fox
104 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars


Writer and director Josh Fox’s loosely riffing investigation about mining for natural gas across the USA will be perhaps a little frustrating for those who like a lot of facts and figures but there is no doubt that it makes its point well – the unregulated process of hydraulic fracturing is yet another example of corporate power riding roughshod over the little guy and kicking Mother Earth in the guts whilst at it.

The story starts personally when Fox receives a letter form a natural gas company offering him $100,000 for permission to explore his upstate New York property. Intrigued he starts to ask questions and this leads him to uncover the horror that lies behind the seemingly environmentally friendly words “natural gas”. Belying its apparent green credentials natural gas is actually harvested by the process hydraulic fracture mining or ‘fracking’ which pumps enormous quantities of water and toxic chemicals deep underground to extract gas from massive subterranean shale beds across America. Going on a road trip across the USA, Fox discovers hundreds if not thousands of these operations. Clearly is hugely profitable business and corporate lobbyists have managed to have all environmental sanctions lifted from it largely thanks to former Bush right-hand man, Dick Cheney.

It’s both scary and depressing stuff as Fox catalogues the environmental and personal damage resulting although as presumably many of the people adversely impacted took the money that Fox had the wit to refuse it is rather ironic to see the spirit of free enterprise eat its own.

DVD Extras: 45m of bonus scenes; David Stratton interview with the director; Theatrical trailer.

Available from: Madman




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