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'Crude'

December 17, 2009

Before seeing the late fall blockbusters, spare some time for an excellent documentary that has surfaced for a return engagement. "Crude" sounds like the standard "This is an outrage" environmental degradation epic, but it is something more interesting as well. The news behind the news about a lawsuit pitting 30,000 Ecuadoreans against Chevron, "Crude" shows in candid detail how campaigns are waged, tactics decided on and strategies prioritized. For both sides realize that lawsuits like this one are not won or lost in the courtroom alone but in the critical realm of perception and public opinion. Director Joe Berlinger shows us situations that ordinarily would not be open to outsiders. At the Beverly Center 13, 8522 Beverly Blvd., L.A.

-- Kenneth Turan

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