Trouble the Water, a new documentary, is ostensibly about Hurricane Katrina, centered around home-video footage shot during the disaster by a resident of New Orleans’ Ninth Ward. But the film, which frames Kimberly Roberts’ footage within a larger context, transcends that one event to put forth a peerless discussion of race in America, Andrew O’Hehir writes in Salon.
Roberts, not Katrina, is in fact the real subject of Trouble the Water. As a self-described occasional drug dealer, people like her are generally understood in the abstract: victim or perpetrator, a symptom of racism. “It was hard to imagine anyone sitting through this film without feeling overwhelmed by great grief and great joy,” O’Hehir writes, “and without being humbled by a sudden awareness of one's own prejudices about the lives, passions and dreams of poor people.”