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The Big Uneasy (2010)

7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 99 users   Metascore: 54/100
Reviews: 7 user | 18 critic | 9 from Metacritic.com

Follows three remarkable people--the leaders of two scientific investigation teams, and one whistleblower--as they reveal the true story of why New Orleans flooded.

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Cast overview, first billed only:
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Himself
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Himself - Segment Host
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Himself - Narration (voice)
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Herself - Narration (voice)
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Himself - Narration (voice)
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Himself - Narration (voice)
Ivor Van Heerden ...
Himself
Bob Gramling ...
Himself (as Dr. Bob Gramling)
Robert Bea ...
Himself
William Freudenburg ...
Himself (as Dr. William Freudenburg)
Jeffrey Bedey ...
Himself (as Col. Jeffrey Bedey)
Michael Grunwald ...
Himself
Karen Durham-Aguilera ...
Herself
Maria Garzino ...
Herself
Clancy DuBos ...
Himself
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Follows three remarkable people--the leaders of two scientific investigation teams, and one whistleblower--as they reveal the true story of why New Orleans flooded.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Natural Disaster? You Don't Know The Half Of It.

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Documentary

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30 August 2010 (USA)  »

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Informative Must See Documentary
26 March 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Big Uneasy is a too little seen documentary by Harry Shearer, the comic actor and host of the PRI program Le Show. Focusing on the structural failures that led to flooding during Hurricane Katrina. Far from a natural disaster, the flooding was a product of negligence and poor management by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Shearer traces the failures, and the Corps's refusal to implement real reforms, through several perspectives, including a woman working within the Corps and a scientist at Louisiana State University. A number of poor decisions by the Corps of Engineers set the floods in motion, including the construction of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, which destroyed vital storm surge absorbing wetlands by allowing salt water in. Furthermore, the levees meant to protect New Orleans were built on weak, sandy ground which allowed water to seep through.

The most disturbing aspect of the film is the unwillingness of the Corps or Louisiana state authorities to acknowledge or correct their mistakes. Whistleblowers are intimidated and stonewalled, while academics at state universities lose their jobs for speaking out. In the face of such intransigence, New Orleans seems destined to repeat the disaster all over again.

It is pathetic that we need to rely on the drummer from Spinal Tap to bring this information to us. It testifies to the spinelessness of the mainstream media. Shearer's radio program, Le Show, is arguably the most informative program on NPR. If only more journalists had his talent for investigation.


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