Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Spike Lee's "When the Levees Broke" on HBO

Watched the premiere of the first half of this film (to be repeated in its four hour entirety on August 29) on HBO last night. Lee manages to tie everything into a fairly cohesive whole without losing any of the natural impact or horror from the days following Hurricane Katrina. Quite powerful without being treacly or overtly biased.

The interviews are fabulous, as well. It was impossible not to cry, watching some of the people describe firsthand experiences, still carrying surprise that help did not arrive nearly fast enough. In America, so many of them repeated. Who could think this would be allowed here in America?

As someone who believes the aftermath of the hurricane and 9/11 serve as natural bookends to Bush's failed presidency, Katrina hammered home the administration's craven nature, the son's twist of a father's "Message: I care" credo, writ large and forever etched across the landscape -- "Message: I don't care," if you will. The shoddy and ineffectual crisis response served only as an exclamation point to a sentence most of us already heard loud and clear.

Lee manages to capture the incredulity and absolute shock so many of us felt, helplessly watching our fellow citizens suffer on the streets of New Orleans, and make us feel it all over again.

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