Nonfiction filmmaker Margaret Brown keeps her eyes open on the Deep South she’s from, moving from the personal portrait of her hometown of Mobile, Alabama in “The Order of Myths” to the larger canvas of “The Great Invisible.” Her sober, beautiful, infuriating and utterly essential film charts the ongoing cost to be paid from the devastating 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill into the depths of the Gulf of Mexico. Brown seeks figures that range from Gulf Coast residents like oyster shuckers whose lives and livelihoods have been shattered, to workers describing the cost-cutting measures that contributed to the deadly accident, to unexpectedly candid oil executives. But Brown doesn’t neglect the larger picture. As a tugboat captain observes, there’s a reason for the quest for oil as cheaply as possible: we “want a car they can drive any damn time they want to, they want a light bulb they can turn on any time they want to. They want air conditioning they can turn on when it’s hot, not just when the wind blows.” 92m. (Ray Pride)
“The Great Invisible” opens Friday, November 7 at the Music Box. The trailer is below.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.