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When the Levees Broke Reviews

Mike Clark
USA Today
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October 20, 2007

Globe and Mail
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The same didactic instincts that sometimes mar Lee's fictional filmmaking serve him well as a documentarian and eulogist.

| Original Score: 4/4

September 23, 2006
David Denby
New Yorker
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Surely the most magnificent and large-souled record of a great American tragedy ever put on film.

August 28, 2006
Stephen Holden
New York Times
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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.

Full Review Source: New York Times | Original Score: 4/5

August 22, 2006
Paul Brownfield
Los Angeles Times
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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.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 4/5

August 22, 2006
Robert Abele
L.A. Weekly
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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.

Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly

August 22, 2006
Charlie McCollum
San Jose Mercury News
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Do the flaws diminish Levees? To a degree. But the story Lee tells is so powerful, so important, that the lapses aren't a reason not to pay heed to what this passionate film has to say.

Full Review Source: San Jose Mercury News | Original Score: 3.5/4

August 22, 2006
David Bianculli
New York Daily News
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It's something to make a point to see.

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 4/4

August 22, 2006
David Wiegand
San Francisco Chronicle
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The film asks many questions, implies answers for the easier ones, but ultimately concludes that some are simply beyond answering. Those are the questions posed in stories of incalculable human heartbreak.

Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 4/4

August 22, 2006
Matt Zoller Seitz
Newark Star-Ledger
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One of Lee's greatest and most deeply personal works.

Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger

August 22, 2006
Joanna Weiss
Boston Globe
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Lee makes a convincing case that, compared to 9/11, this is the far worse disaster.

Full Review Source: Boston Globe

August 22, 2006
Vinay Menon
Toronto Star
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The most important lesson is this: we must never forget.

Full Review Source: Toronto Star

August 22, 2006
Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle
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Even more than Do the Right Thing, until now Lee's major achievement, When the Levees Broke is simultaneously his most searing and topical movie and the one most assured of enduring.

Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle

August 22, 2006
Barry Garron
Hollywood Reporter
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Spike Lee's monumental look at Katrina is richly detailed and realistically complex.

August 22, 2006
Cynthia Joyce
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It's not necessarily the drama inherent in these stories that moved some to tears -- and it's possible that some audiences won't recognize the restraint Lee exercised in rendering them -- it's the heartbreaking matter-of-factness.

Full Review Source:

August 22, 2006
Joe Leydon
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Charged with profound sorrow, galvanizing outrage and defiant resolve.

Full Review Source: Variety

August 22, 2006
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