Margaret Brown's documentary "The Great Invisible" comprehensively explores the socioeconomic fallout from the 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11 and spurred an environmental disaster.
The key word there is "comprehensive," as the filmmaker takes great pains to incorporate just about every possible perspective, from oil executives to the families of victims and the shrimpers and others whose livelihoods still haven't recovered.
It's too big and broad an approach to possibly pull off over the course of 92 minutes. There's simply no way to fulfill the enormous ambition here, to effectively maintain this level of ethnographic inquiry without shortchanging certain experiences and perspectives.
No matter how imperfect the movie might be, however, it never seems less than important, especially in the way it depicts the reverberations of this disaster throughout our social ecosystem. The ramifications of the Deepwater explosion are still being deeply felt across the South and beyond.
The picture is at its best over a series of heart-rending moments: an Alabama man goes from house to house, imploring his fellow residents in the ravaged fishing town of Bayou La Batre to meet with a lawyer; the father of one of the late rig workers drives through the rain to be in court for the U.S. lawsuit against BP; a shrimper shows us the oil run off from his catch; a wife reveals where her husband, who also worked on the rig, plotted to kill himself.
Collectively, they illustrate the truth that we're all deeply, inextricably linked, no matter who we are or where we're from.
Documentary directed by Margaret Brown
Playing at City Cinemas Village East