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      Released Sep 9, 2009 1 hr. 44 min. Documentary List
      95% 64 Reviews Tomatometer 85% 1,000+ Ratings Audience Score In this documentary, director Joe Berlinger looks into a major environmental disaster in the Amazon, which involves the oil industry in Ecuador. While the film explores the human toll of the corporate presence in the heart of the jungle, it also presents the circumstances involved in the massive legal case associated with the complicated situation. Investigating the issue from a variety of perspectives, the movie shows how big business can drastically affect the world. Read More Read Less

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      Critics Consensus

      Dynamic, tightly arranged, and deliberately provocative, Joe Berlinger's Crude is a sobering, enraging wake-up call.

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      Audience Reviews

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      Audience Member A well-told and important story from a very observant filmmaker Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/10/23 Full Review Audience Member This documentary takes a unbiased and comprehensive look at a David v. Goliath real life story about how a group of a small Ecuadorian community sued Texaco/Chevron for destroying their environment and way of life. It starts at the beginning when the lawyers representing Ecuador seem like fools for challenging big money interests and it takes us along their journey when they are eventually put on the global stage and gain massive support. It is a story about how we as a globalized society try to cope and assuage the unjustly afflicted and also the reality of not really doing anything at all in the long run. It sort of feels like we as a people are on a runaway train and despite our best efforts to get off or slow it down, it will inevitably push on till quite possibly the end of our civilization. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/09/23 Full Review jesse o The reaction when people first hear about this case, they describe it as a David vs Goliath story. And certainly I can't disagree but in many ways it sort of simplifies the struggle and it doesn't really get to the heart of the matter. This film was released before Chevron actually lost the lawsuit and they were ordered to pay over $18 billion in damages and to correct the damage they've done to the rain forest. Unfortunately, and this is sad part considering that Chevron WANTED the case moved to Ecuador, Chevron has no international obligation to pay the money so they've just outright refused to own up to their mistakes. Anyway, this film highlights the struggle of this small-time lawyer, Pablo Fajardo, and his fight against a gigantic, multinational corporation such as Chevron. Perhaps Chevron could've contributed more than they did to the film but, of course, other than interviews with Chevron apologists that work for them, they're gonna refuse to address these charges since they believe they're not guilty of anything. I do like how the film tracks the progress of the case, going from a case that wasn't in the public mind to being something the world has been made aware about, thanks to the 2007 Live Earth concert and the efforts made by Trudie Styler to bring this case to the awareness of the world. It really is unfortunate that this would be the first case where indigenous people have successfully sued a multinational corporation for damages to their land, because that means there's been other cases where you don't even know about and these companies using their vast resources to force those suing them into bankruptcy and having to drop the lawsuits. If I went over everything in the movie, I'd be here forever but I'd definitely recommend this film so this criminal activity by Chevron shouldn't be forgotten at all. This is an excellent documentary. Perhaps a little one-sided, but that is Chevron's own fault for refusing to participate. If you have Netflix Instant, then this is a must-see. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member "Crude" does give us an interesting process story, but the case it presents against Chevron is consistently weak, based on hearsay when we need health statistics, environmental lab results, maps and contract agreements between Chevron and PetroEcuador (the national oil company of Ecuador). After their joint oil exploration, a mess has been left, but which party is responsible for which oil pit? The film has no interest in finding out, preferring to just observe the theater. If you watch this, dig a bit into PetroEcuador's environmental record. One article I found suggests they haven't "paid a dime" in cleanup even though they were responsible for over 1000 spills in the 5 years leading up to the footage we see in the film. Chevron spent 40 million dollars cleaning up before they left in the 90s. Chevron likely wanted the case moved to Ecuador because in 1998, the Ecuadorian government declared Chevron's environmental remediation was completed according to the agreed terms and released them from any future liability in the country. However, google "Ecuador's Assault on Free Speech" and you'll get a NYTimes article covering President Correa's manipulation of his country's judicial system by having his own lawyer write the highest judge's ruling against a major newspaper outlet. With his personal attention and involvement at the end of the movie, can you then really trust any Ecuadorian ruling in this case against Chevron? At the very least, there are two definite failures here that need to be resolved anywhere oil is handled poorly: government regulation and citizen oversight of the government's competence. The latter is only made possible by a free press, something Ecuador apparently doesn't have. Also, don't let your ducks and chickens drink out of an old construction tire if you want them to live. Rated 1.5 out of 5 stars 01/23/23 Full Review Audience Member This is the quintessential documentary that I recommend to folks when they need to be hit with the hard truth about corporate greed and the perils of putting too much of one's trust into the free-market... My heart aches for the people of Ecuador. I hope that he does not face a tragic demise like so many other world leaders that have attempted to stand up to the West and its barbarous energy mega-corporations... Rated 5 out of 5 stars 01/14/23 Full Review Audience Member According to their definition, documentaries seek to document and retell a story with video, interview, a narrator, and other facts. Some have brought an issue into the public eye (âAn Inconvenient Truthâ?), some follow a character (âHoop Dreamsâ? and âInvisible Cityâ?), and others have a political viewpoint (âBowling for Columbineâ?). Many lie somewhere in between. Paying five dollars at the Bloor Cinema does not ensure the unbiased truth; it is incumbent upon the viewer to decide what is real and who is telling the truth. Crude: The Real Price of Oil debates Chevron-Texacoâ(TM)s (in partnership with the government of Ecuador) drilling in the Amazon. The natives of that region, who are experiencing high rates of cancer and skin diseases, have launched a class action suit against the international conglomerate and the documentary follows both sides of the trial. Coverage is even-handed and both parties are given significant time to make their case. Each side is supported by lawyers and environmentalists, all seeming to offer equally informed and educated viewpoints. It is evident that the health of those living near the drilling sites - including hundreds of kilometers of pipelines and waste pits - has worsened in recent years. But why? As discussed by Malcolm Gladwellâ(TM)s introduction in his book Outliers, an unhealthy and polluted environment does not guarantee illness or high death rates. But, given the name of the book, which suggests an unusual success, Roseto, Pennsylvania and its nearby quarry are not the model that most industrial areas follow. The seepage of by-products into the soil and effluents in the water supply are most likely to blame. Chevron-Texaco argues that it is because when Petro-Ecuador (which is owned by the government and would be called a crown corporation in Canada) took over the operation in 1992, safety standards plummeted. In their view, any human casualties were caused by a government selling the health of their citizens to make money. The plaintiffs disagree, claiming that the Amazon River has been obviously polluted since the projectâ(TM)s inception. Joe Berlinger creates a compelling tale by combining emotional moments such as a visit to a public health clinic with the technical details of the legal proceedings. A sordid web is weaved; we learn that one of the lawyers has been indicted for fraud committed during the case. A Chevron environmentalist makes several absurd statements questioning the obvious pollution and vowing to resign if her employer ever damaged the environment. What personally irks me is the lack of integrity shown by Chevron. First, they advocated that the lawsuit should be tried in Ecuador instead of the United States where it was originally filed. After a judgment was made against the company, Chevron disputed the validity of the Ecuadorian justice system and is now asking for âinternational mediation.â? The case has dragged on for fifteen years and is expected to last for another ten. Binders of case filings consume an entire room of a court house. If an issue is past, we could have Googled the truth; if an issue is present, either recent or ongoing, we are not told the truth because each side is biased, provides spurious arguments, or seems completely deluded about what really took place. Why has the popularity of documentaries increased? It is not because we are learning more about the world but we are seeking to entertainment. Documentaries have evolved from ten hour mini-series on P.B.S. to highly publicized media events, following a path similar to reality television. Many of these films are as fictional as the latest blockbuster. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 01/16/23 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

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      Critics Reviews

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      Joshua Rothkopf Time Out Rated: 3/5 Nov 17, 2011 Full Review Dan Jolin Empire Magazine Not exactly genre-bending innovation or anything but a decent documentary about an important episode in history of oil company exploitation. Rated: 3/5 Jan 15, 2010 Full Review Kevin Maher Times (UK) Although the real-life outcome may be known to some, Crude still, at its best, unfolds like a courtroom thriller. Rated: 4/5 Jan 15, 2010 Full Review David Harris Spectrum Culture Though one-sided and all too happy to assail an easy target such as a monstrous oil company, Crude backs up its rhetoric by providing footage and images of the people and terrain affected... Rated: 3.5/5 Oct 11, 2019 Full Review Laura Hiros Rincón de cine Yes, Crude talks about the environmental impact of oil exploitation, but it is not just another documentary about this subject... it is the human perspective that prevails, showing the human cost of each drop of oil we consume. [Full review in Spanish] Rated: 4/5 Mar 16, 2018 Full Review Nora Lee Mandel Maven's Nest Well shows how a canny public relations campaign is a key part of legal strategy to even up the odds in the court of world opinion. . .But does not get below the surface. Rated: 6/10 Jan 1, 2016 Full Review Read all reviews

      Movie Info

      Synopsis In this documentary, director Joe Berlinger looks into a major environmental disaster in the Amazon, which involves the oil industry in Ecuador. While the film explores the human toll of the corporate presence in the heart of the jungle, it also presents the circumstances involved in the massive legal case associated with the complicated situation. Investigating the issue from a variety of perspectives, the movie shows how big business can drastically affect the world.
      Joe Berlinger
      Executive Producer
      Robert Friedman, Lisa Copland, Ted Sarandos, Justin Wilkes, Frank Scherma, Jon Kamen
      First Run
      Original Language
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Sep 9, 2009, Limited
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Mar 8, 2017
      Box Office (Gross USA)