A purifying masterpiece of pain and anger, Spike Lee’s devastating dissection of the Hurricane Katrina debacle is one of 2006’s best films and a stirring document of sickening governmental indifference. Spread over four hours and originally broadcast in two parts on HBO on the first anniversary of the storm striking the Gulf Coast, “When the Levees Broke” juxtaposes the memories of those who continue to live through the ordeal with wrenching footage of the aftermath.
The cumulative emotional impact of Lee’s sprawling work is heartache and rage, proving that the stinging impact of the Oscar-nominated “Four Little Girls” was no fluke. A vivid portrait of a pivotal moment in American history, “When the Levees Broke” is an undeniable, utterly necessary achievement.
This three-disc set further fleshes out Lee’s film, adding a 105-minute “fifth movement,” which further fleshes out the already expansive doc with more in-depth interviews, along with a shattering photo montage set to Terence Blanchard’s somber score. An essential addition to any collection.