Spreading outward from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to Wall Street and the White House, the focus of Josh and Rebecca Tickell’s docu “The Big Fix” is less on the crude-oil pollution of water than on the corporate contamination of democracy. Alternately gutsy and preachy, specific and scattered, the righteously angry pic risks alienating those who could be galvanized by its proof of Big Oil’s corrupting omnipotence, at least in the overlong cut that screened at Cannes. For the Tickells, containing the spillage of info could result in a leaner, meaner, more marketable and less exasperating work of cine-activism.
After placing BP’s catastrophe in the context of an industry-wide compulsion to sacrifice safety for profits, “Fix” proceeds to a variety of topics, including the spill’s negative impact on shrimping and the health of citizens in Louisiana; the semi-secret use of Corexit to conceal the extent of oil in Gulf waters; the evidently effective bribery of environmental regulators, university professors and members of Congress; the mysterious hot-tub death of BP whistleblower Matthew Simmons; the 1920s battles of Huey Long against Standard Oil; and the Tickells’ marriage. Tech credits are slick.