When the Levees Broke A Requiem in Four Acts - Broken Hearts

Alliance Atlantis
Duration: 240min
Category: Documentary
Available: On DVD
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For me, probably the most powerful moment in When the Levees Broke, is the moment when the band marches through the wreckage playing their music with a passion and sadness that is palpable. This has become an iconic image, mostly in part to this powerful piece.

Spike Lee has done some of his best work here in this documentary on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Like a lot of documentarians, he is not a journalist. He comes from a place where he holds a position and he attempts to convince us. Like the best, he achieves this by being entertaining and persuasive. His point, that the disaster was a human one and not a natural one. The devastation was cause by human error, or worse, neglect.

Itís a powerful message and we get it from the mouths of those most affected. Lee allows them to tell their own story. The images that he pieces together with it also speak for themselves. I donít know if you can ever understand it if you werenít there but this is as close as you may come.

Leeís only fault is that the film is a bit excessive. It begins to repeat itself and you find yourself second guessing the ideas as a result. A little more restraint could have made a perfect film. Still, maybe, in a situation like this, there is no room for restraint.

Review By: Collin Smith

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