When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (2006)
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Critic Reviews for When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts
The same didactic instincts that sometimes mar Lee's fictional filmmaking serve him well as a documentarian and eulogist.
Surely the most magnificent and large-souled record of a great American tragedy ever put on film.
What breaks your heart is the film's accumulated firsthand stories of New Orleans residents who lost everything in the flood after Hurricane Katrina, and the dismaying conclusion that a year after the disaster, the broken city has been largely abandoned.
When the Levees Broke is like the New Orleans jazz funeral -- a dirge on the way to the cemetery, an up-tempo parade in the deceased's honor on the bittersweet walk back home.
An exhaustive, ruminative, angry and even occasionally gallows-humorous account of the strange domino effect of tragedy compounding incompetence compounding tragedy that dealt a critical blow to one of America's great cities.
Audience Reviews for When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts
Spike Lee's touching documentary on Hurricane Katrina is horrific and beautiful. A film that all americans should see.
Aside from 'Crooklyn' I can't say that I'm a big Spike Lee fan.
But this documentary is so INCREDIBLY well done that I can forgive him some of the mediocre/crappy films he has made prior to this.
Spike brings a face (several actually) and a heart (albeit broken) to the tragic events following hurricane Katrina.
An event that is a true disgrace to our country and the good people of the gulf coast. And will forever be a scar on the face of our history as Americans.
If this film doesn't bring tears to your eyes, an ache to your heart and a ball of anger to your stomach...then you are either heartless or a Republican (possibly both?).
[font=Century Gothic]Spike Lee's epic documentary, "When the Levees Broke" is an oral history of Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans told from the vantage point of survivors, local celebrities, experts, Governor Kathleen Blanco and Mayor Ray Nagin. Blanco and Nagin received mixed grades while with the exception of the Coast Guard, the federal government is attacked for its painfully slow response. Their testimony helps put the unforgettable images into perspective.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]The one thing missing from this documentary which I was fully expecting was anger and outrage which only come in very short bursts, usually directed rightfully at the Bush Administration.(Indirectly, New Orleans became another casualty of the Iraq debacle.) Maybe Spike Lee is maturing as a filmmaker and the sensationalism is kept at a minimum(even the theory that the levees were dynamited sounds rational once it is placed in historical context), but there is a time and a place for rage and this is certainly the place.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]Spike Lee uses the metaphor of a jazz funeral for the city - mournful music followed by an upbeat tempo. So, maybe there is hope for New Orleans to return to its former glory, but not as an amusement park, industrial park or gentrified white suburb.[/font]
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