FLOW

5 Stars
Year Released: 2008
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 84 minutes
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If this documentary doesn’t cause you to rethink what you believe about water, you aren’t watching closely enough. You use it every day and you barely notice it, but there are people paying very close attention to those two facts and they do notice water usage, and what is happening under our noses because of them is the stuff out of nightmares.

I’ve followed the situation with the world’s water at arm’s length for a few years. “Flow” brought all the little pieces you pick up here and there and put them all in one place, making for one of the most fascinating and revealing documentaries in years. What exactly does it reveal? Not much that is good.

Our planet’s water supply is dangerously dirty. (And that includes bottled water, which is less regulated than that which you get out of the tap.) Drinking this water is potentially deadly, and so is bathing in it, showering in it, and using it for your ice cubes. Think you can avoid it if you avoid those things? You have to drink something, and you have to eat, too. Don’t fear, though, there are a handful of corporations out there intent on bringing potable water to the poorest regions of the world and make all our lives better.

Watching this DVD stunned me into silence several different times. Most damning is what actually comes out of the mouths of those corporations’ CEOs. They often make no bones about what they are trying to do, and those actions are killing people. (Wait until you see footage of water red with slaughterhouse blood and human waste.) This isn’t all doom and gloom, however, as unlike the fear-driven media, the people behind this film actually present solutions.

We are shown protests and lawsuits against corporate actions, we are shown inexpensive ways to purify water, and we are also shown what a well-organized group of people can do. There are few documentaries that go that far, and I must say it was fairly inspirational.

Our water is teeming with chemicals like rocket fuel and drugs like Prozac. The FDA can’t tell us what is in bottled water, yet people still pay for it thinking it is “safer” than what comes out of the tap. Companies across the globe are making a water grab and are draining communities dry while polluting what little safe water there is. If you think that is bad, also understand that we are running out of it.

This is one of the most unsettling documentaries you can hope to see, but it is also one of the most uplifting. If even one sentence of this review caught your attention, I urge you to seek it out. Is it alarmist? Not nearly enough. But in twenty years nobody should be able to say they didn’t see this coming. (Possibly ten years if you live in New Mexico.)



Posted on March 21, 2010 in Reviews by
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