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Watermark

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Canada
·
2013

Rated PG · 1h 32m

Director Edward Burtynsky
Starring
Genre Documentary
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Photographer Edward Burtynsky and filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal reunite to explore the ways in which humanity has shaped, manipulated and depleted one of its most vital and compromised resources: water. Travel around the world, from the abalone farms off China’s Fujian coast to the scientists drilling the Greenland Ice Sheet.

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

50

Village Voice by Chuck Wilson

Watermark is a documentary filled with images both beautiful and wrenching, yet the film as a whole is a disappointment.
80

Wall Street Journal by Joe Morgenstern

Here's a case of images in the service of important ideas, rather than entertainment, yet they could hardly be more powerful, from roaring torrents released by a dam in China to a lyrical helicopter shot of a glistening river in British Columbia.
75

Slant Magazine by Kenji Fujishima

By keeping explanatory talking-heads interviews to a minimum, the filmmakers put their trust in the audience to draw their own conclusions based on what they present to us.
60

The Dissolve by Mike D'Angelo

There’s a difference between an exhibition of one photographer’s work and a speedy tour of a museum’s entire photography wing, and Watermark feels more like the latter, despite Burtynsky’s involvement.
58

The A.V. Club by Nick Schager

Unfortunately, while the documentary’s points are clear, its desire to articulate them primarily through contrasts neuters some of its persuasiveness.
90

Variety by Peter Debruge

Despite the staggering range of material Watermark manages to present — Burtynsky’s five-year undertaking is certainly the most encompassing survey any one artist has ever dedicated to the subject — it’s still just the tip of the metaphorical iceberg.
50

Washington Post by Stephanie Merry

It’s as if the movie’s many pieces are supposed to be like impressionistic brush strokes. When seen together, the result is pretty to look at. But it’s not as meaningful as it should be.
75

Boston Globe by Ty Burr

Watermark feels less focused than “Manufactured Landscapes.” While it presents us with awful and/or awe-inspiring images and ideas, the movie lacks the tightening grip that made the earlier work so unforgettable.