In almost a self-parody of their lack of intelligence, many critics thought Stone’s effort too emotionally-laden (and too pro-American) while they heaped praise on Lee’s effort which was nothing but an intellectually-void screed based on one long emotional whine that lacked utterly any real critical, sophisticated analysis of the politics surrounding Hurricane Katrina’s destructive visitation a year ago. And the punch line is it was Stone’s film that is fiction based on fact, while Lee took a story of fact and turned it into fiction.
I haven’t seen World Trade Center but the public certainly has been blessing it at the box office. However, I have seen When the Levees Broke and can tell you that, among the American public, it’s probably going to do more harm than good if its goal was to arouse sympathy that produces a political payoff of more and quicker aid to New Orleans.
This is because Lee, in his quest to argue that the response to the hurricane was conditioned by a callous conservative Bush Administration and racist America, has to highlight the most insipid arguments and whiniest people in order to sell that ridiculous thesis. Just to give some examples from the film:
Not all vignettes feature such crass people and attitudes. A few reinforce the idea that big government by its nature is inefficient, showing people with legitimate gripes and heroic struggles who acted much more gracefully. But what the casual viewer gets out of all of this is a highly-distorted picture of what Louisianans and New Orleanians are like. Through Lee’s prism, they come across as self-important claimers of victimhood who are entitled to impose on the generosity of America.
Again, the people portrayed and commentators utilized no doubt represent the distinct minority of those affected by the hurricane, and, again, Lee needs these kinds of people to try to fob off his view on an American public which has become increasingly skeptical of the need to spend larger and larger sums on an area representing a half of a percent of the American population that has a well-deserved reputation for dysfunctionality in governing. But this film just manages to achieve the reverse: it only reinforces America’s impression of Louisiana as blaming others for problems it could lead in solving, preferring to waste its time by sticking its hand out demanding no-strings-attached charity.