The Big Fix Josh Tickell & Rebecca Harrell Tickell

The Big Fix Josh Tickell & Rebecca Harrell Tickell
Most people will recall the massive oil leak that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, thanks in large part to the ensuing media frenzy. The news programs were like vultures swooping in on potential ratings, force-feeding the general public their viewpoints and commentary ― CNN even permanently displayed a round-the-clock live feed of the oil as it billowed out of the undersea pipe, conveniently located on their news ticker bar so viewers could check-in and see the progress, or lack thereof. But once the leak was capped and the world focused its attention on other matters, what were the lingering aftereffects? Directors Josh Tickell and his wife, Rebecca Harrell Tickell, attempt to answer this question with The Big Fix, which sets out to investigate the corporate negligence committed by offending oil company British Petroleum (now known as Beyond Petroleum or BP). They provide an enraged exposé of the shortcuts and missteps that were made leading to the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling platform, spilling nearly five million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf over the span of five months. They provide a concise history of BP, eventually narrowing their focus to the state of Louisiana, where the wake of devastation left behind is examined. With them are celebrities Peter Fonda and Amy Smart, whose fame is exploited to garner attention ― at least initially, since they both disappear from the movie inexplicably and are never mentioned again. The Tickells poke around in areas the government has declared off-limits, often giving the impression they are covert specialists, showcasing what they say is evidence of a cover-up by the oil company, going so far as to suggest that the government is in on it. While some of what they bring to the table can be damning, their use of night vision goggles to demonstrate their key point is almost laughable, such as a scene where we are shown something that looks like a '80s videogame, with crude text and an arrow pointing to a blob that they say is evidence of a chemical that isn't supposed to be there. Some of the best moments come from the interviews with locals, whose lives have been permanently changed. Unfortunately these moments are overshadowed by the interviews with scientists, lobbyists and lawyers that the directors want you to believe are unbiased. BP chose not to represent or defend its side of the story and because of this the Tickells inadvertently call into question nearly every one of the arguments they put forth. We are presented with a film that revels in bias and even makes unsubstantiated insinuations about the deaths of two activists (apparently the oil companies played a role?). Josh Tickell's original goal was to answer two questions: what were we not told by the media in the days following the incident and what haven't we been told since the story disappeared from the news? The Big Fix would have been a poignant critique of corporate accountability had the co-directors stuck to legitimate criticisms of BP's conduct, but instead it's little more than an enraged and overtly biased rant. There are no special features on the DVD. (Mongrel Media)