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With: Kimberly Roberts, Scott Roberts, Brian Nobles, Jerome Baham, Kendall "Wink" Rivers, Larry Simms
Written by: n/a
Directed by: Carl Deal, Tia Lessin
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 96
Date: 01/20/2008

Trouble the Water (2008)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Storm Warnings

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Tia Lessin and Carl Deal technically directed this documentary about Hurricane Katrina and the massive destruction it wreaked in 2005, but the real center of the film comes from local couple Kim and Scott Roberts, who captured the arrival of the storm on their store-bought video camera. We get a real grasp of the disaster from a ground level; we can finally understand just how fast the water rose, and just how difficult it was to keep your head above it. The directors follow the couple in the days and weeks following the storm, showing astonishment at the behavior of the authorities and shock as government aid fails to come in. We also get a firm grasp of the racial and social situation, and a real flavor of the Roberts' neighborhood, which suggests one reason behind government indifference. Lessin and Deal mostly stay out of the way, letting the Robertses -- one a former drug dealer and the other an aspiring rap star -- tell their own story. It's a view of the disaster that no amount of news coverage would ever manage to capture. But it's also something of a bitter pill, and awfully difficult to recommend enthusiastically to a paying audience.

DVD Details: Zeitgeist released the 2009 DVD, and I can only wonder how many people are actually going to rent or purchase it. Extras include 19 minutes of deleted and extended scenes. We also get onstage Q&As from EbertFest (23 minutes) and the New Orleans premiere (14 minutes), and footage of Kim meeting the mayor of New Orleans. There's a trailer and optional English and Spanish subtitles. The most interesting extra is a very good review -- printed in the liner notes -- by a New Orleans film critic.

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