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Crude review

This latest US green-themed doco is about the lawsuit against oil giant Chevron by Amazon-dwellers who blame petroleum-contaminated water for a blight of illnesses. Shifting between muddy Ecuador villages and towering Manhattan offices, director Joe Berlinger explores power inequalities with skilful, unshrill restraint. The filmmaker saves sympathetically personal scenes for humble lawyer Pablo Fajardo’s team, while giving rope enough for Chevron’s spokespeople to come off shifty.

Humorous, quirky touches lift devastatingly sad content, while expedition footage of Trudie Styler gives unique insight into the publicity machine. There’s much speechifying, with no high-octane finale - but that’s near-unavoidable for a case still dragging on amid corrupt politicking.

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crude Total Film

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