Saturday, May 06, 2017

Sean Kelly

Hot Docs 2017: What Lies Upstream

A water crisis in West Virginia calls into question the water purification policies of the United States in What Lies Upstream. In 2014, a chemical known as MCHM leaked into the Elk River, affecting the water supply for nearly half of West Virginia. Filmmaker Cullen Hoback travels to West Virginia to investigate this crisis, as well as the later crisis in Flint, Michigan, and he discovers some shocking facts about the United States policies over water testing and purification.

Cullen Hoback follows up his social media expose Terms and Conditions May Apply with this investigative look into the chemical leak in West Virginia that resulted in licorice-smelling drinking water, the effect of which on humans were completely unknown. Throughout his investigation, Hoback discovers falsified science studies, water companies focused only on the bottom line, and the fact that drinking water may contain chemicals that aren't being tested for.

While I'll be the first to admit that I wasn't the biggest fan to how Cullen Hoback structured Terms and Conditions May Apply, his very invasive investigative style works in What Lies Upstream, which looks to expose the truth about the water purification policies in the United States. There are some scary revelations made in this film, which will likely result in you thinking twice before going to the tap to get a drink of water.

8 / 10 stars


Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).