One of the largest and most controversial legal cases on the planet. An inside look at the infamous $27 billion "Amazon Chernobyl" case, CRUDE is a real-life high stakes legal drama set against a backdrop of the environmental movement, global politics, celebrity activism, human rights advocacy, the media, multinational corporate power, and rapidly-disappearing indigenous cultures. Presenting a complex situation from multiple viewpoints, the film examines a complicated situation from several angles while bringing a story of environmental peril and human suffering into focus. Written by
Footage not included in the documentary was later used as evidence of fraud on behalf of the plaintiffs in US courts. See more »
Protester at 2008 Chevron Shareholders meeting:
[Protester at 2008 Chevron Shareholders meeting]
In Ecuador as in Nigeria, as in Richmond, as in Iraq, as in Burma, this company chose profit over people. It's clear that this company has no moral responsibility, no ethics. And that's why we're all here.
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If you have not seen CRUDE yet, get to the closest theater. It is a near perfect documentary of an incredible story.
Filmmaker Joe Berlinger leads us through a tale that combines a legal thriller, an environmental outrage, a cultural crisis, a buddy pic, and even pulls in some rock you out of your seats concert footage. Rarely does any film have so many dimensions delivered in such an effective and riveting package.
Following the crusade of an Ecuadorian lawsuit against Chevron for 2 of its 14 years, we are guided by the oddest legal couple you can imagine. Pablo the young, fresh and determined Ecuadorian hero seems at times too young and too nice for the fight he is in. That is until you hear him passionately address the issues of the case. He embodies innocence and tenacity in a very Jimmy Stewart ala 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington', style. His partner is Steven, a big, bold, brash New York lawyer whose bombastic style is as entertaining as it is effective. We are brought close in to the tragic pollution of a once pristine rainforest, and are moved to tears at the plight of the beautiful ancient peoples devastated by same. From the eco/cultural travesty, to the arcane workings of the Ecuadorian legal system, to the power and ruthlessness of a major multinational corporation, there is so much provocative material in this film that days after the showing, I am still processing, and discussing it.
Berlinger's gift in this movie is that he does not deliver a conclusion to the audience, rather he presents both sides of the story and provokes the viewer to real thought on the issues. While it is clear that he sees a moral imperative that Chevron accept responsibility and that the people get help, Berlinger does not beat you over the head with a message movie. He makes you ponder the complexities and own your own opinion. If he ever stops making films, which I hope he does not, he would make a great college professor.
Watch for this excellent film to be in the mix at Oscar time.
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