This new documentary charts the rush for black gold in Northern Alberta’s oil-rich Tar Sands region. The oil in this region of Canada is near the surface and mixed with sand, so extraction is cost-efficient, which means rich pickings for the refineries and their staff, some of whom take home around $2,000 a week. Meanwhile, ‘Petro-State’ Alberta rakes in around $70 billion in taxes. Of course, the knock-on effect is that a huge swathe of natural habitat is being destroyed, leading to polluted rivers and ill health among disgruntled local communities. There’s nothing sexy about this well-researched film: graphical eye-candy is rejected in favour of facts and figures. At times its tone is a little too academic but its message is loud and clear – we’re all going to hell in a handcart.
Friday March 19 2010