Petropolis

"Excellent"

Petropolis Review


Sumptuous cinematography gives this documentary an artistic feel that makes it almost hypnotic as mainly aerial cameras explore the world's second biggest oil reserve. But even with minimal text, it still makes its point with elegant simplicity.

The Alberta tar sands hold so much oil that they have become the world's largest industrial, capital and energy project. And it could eventually become a mega-complex the size of England. But mining the valuable bitumen requires decimating a lush ancient forest and then creating vast lakes of toxic water in the process of separating sand from bitumen. We see all of this from above, gliding over the trees, water, fields and industrial works. Intriguingly, we never glimpse a single person on screen, only their impact on the environment.

And the audio track is a delicate mix of ambient sounds and minimalist music.

Filmmaker Mettler, who photographed the similar-style Manufactured Landscapes, lets the images speak for themselves, using captions to tell us what we're seeing and to give us nuggets of information. There's also some final voiceover narration that adds historical context in an almost poetic way. But this is never politicised at all; the information is clear and dispassionate, almost eerily matter-of-fact, and the cinematography is spectacular as it simply takes in what is there without making any commentary. Even images of an enormous dump-truck driving through a ravaged strip-mine take on an unexpected elegance.

Although we can hardly help but get the message.

As the film progresses, the scale of what we're seeing increases, and the sheer enormity of this project becomes deeply haunting, as does its potential expansion. Yet while it's impressive to see something that's being done on such a gigantic scale, we can't avoid the reality that this much devastation is truly horrific for the natural world. And the staggering scar in the landscape, created completely by humans, will not only never go away, but will continue to cause problems for the entire planet far into the future. And the clear, unvoiced question is this: are oil industry profits worth this level of destruction?



Petropolis

Facts and Figures

Genre: Documentaries

Run time: 17 mins

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Peter Mettler

Producer: Sandy Hunter, Laura Severinac

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.