By Matt Allchin
Last Call at the Oasis, directed by Jessica Yu and produced by Participant Media, is a 2011 documentary about the water crises that is going to be a huge problem in the years to come. The film touches upon many different water problems we are facing such as the decreasing water level by the Hoover Dam, the huge drought in California, and the contamination of many American’s water supply. The main point of the film was to inform and alarm the people who are not aware of this problem because it is coming sooner than many think.
The movie does a great job exploring the many different issues and spends a decent amount of time on each one. Each issue had a pretty simple yet in depth explanation making it accessible to the general audience who may not be knowledgeable on the subject. Each issue was definitely worth mentioning and did a successful job at scaring the audience into realizing we need to stop taking water for granted.
Erin Brockovich was a main character and she brought a lot of personality to the documentary. After seeing the Hollywood movie made about her, I strongly connected with her from the get-go and was more inclined to care about the issues she was covering. There is a part towards the middle in the movie where she is telling the people at a town meeting that they’re water is contaminated and that there is basically nothing they can do to make the government solve it. I felt this was the one of the strongest parts of the film because you witness these people realize how they are poisoning themselves and there is little they can do to stop it.
Throughout most of the film many problems were covered that involved a lot of the uses of water. Towards the end of the film solutions were brought up to help solve the water crises such as recycling our wastewater. I thought when the science behind this plan was explained it was an intriguing concept that we will have to implement in our society in the near future. However, the film then showed the company trying to market the water and use the actor Jack Black as their spokesperson in a humorous way. I thought this was a low part in the documentary because the film goes from talking about the impending doom of our water supply to watching Jack Black make a commercial about toilet water. The marketing team of the recycled water was going about it the right wrong way because people who were asked to try the water on the street treated it more as a dare instead of something we will have to adapt to in the near future. However, I did like how this scene showed how ignorant the public is to the water crises with one woman saying, “If we need to recycle sewage water that must mean we’re in some sort of shortage that I’m not aware of.” This is just an example of how unaware the public is and how little media covers this crisis.
A solution that I am glad the film touched on was turning salt water into drinkable water because this was a solution that I had in mind going in to this movie. However, this is shot down due to the fact of how expensive it would be to do it also produces a huge quantity of green house gases. A solution that I’m surprised was not touched upon and was talked about in class was harvesting rainwater for daily use. This could be a solution any citizen could do at his or her own home and be implemented into future housing developments. It was odd to me that this was not talked about in the film.
Overall, I thought the message of the film was portrayed well. A lot of issues that will become big problems in the future were brought up and made the audience aware of them. It seemed that the main theme of this film was urgency because of we do need to start acting now. This was represented well by scaring the audience by showing what is to come in the next couple of years if we don’t start doing something.