Friday, May 11, 2012

Last Call at the Oasis

Jessica Yu’s documentary “Last Call at the Oasis” catalogs a world’s worth of problems relating to water, from artificial and carcinogenic chemicals in the water supply to overuse and misallocation of water to the psychological difficulties in getting Americans to accept recycled water. Unfortunately, it doesn’t shed real light on any of them as it bounces from one to the next in almost a stream of consciousness. The audience’s understanding of key concepts is frequently (incorrectly) assumed and rarely enhanced. These are fundamental – dare I say elemental? – issues, but Yu’s film neither entertains nor enlightens. It throws its hands up for 100 minutes, then closes with an inexplicably buoyant coda, sending more mixed messages than a schizophrenic fortune teller. It’s actually a mess.

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