Fresh in my mind after this film was an ancient quote. Time marches on. The new becomes old and the old becomes broken and dilapidated. That's nature for ya. That's the way it is. I couldn't help notice the similarities between the Salton Riviera/Salton Sea area, and Chernobyl landscapes and surrounding town pictures, that you can pull up online with a few clicks. There may be no nuclear connections here, but the desolate and decaying landscapes are very similar on a smaller scale. It's a harrowing grouping of moving images to say the least. Dead fish and birds litter this once beautiful beach resort, and it's not hard to see things are nowhere near safe for residents or travelers alike.
Local farm runoff has polluted this area so much - that it should now be officially marked as dangerous. Since this "sea" has no real flow to the water, the local farm drainage has caused the water to become poisonous. At times, depending on the wind, even the air itself can be toxic. This tourist hot spot, that really did shine pre-1970s, is now a wasteland. And all this history isn't the worst of it. Not at all.
The local governing body still charges people to visit, fish or swim, and camp. According to them officially... The Salton Sea is safe. This is where Stacey Stone's "Unaccountable" documentary kicks in. A push back, to the local powers in place, that this place is not safe. Not family friendly at all. The entire area is the exact opposite. Yet it does have some eerie and interesting features. Mainly what's left of the old buildings.
The story here is not so much about what was done to this place. It's no secret that farm pollution has no doubt, played a huge role. "Unaccountable" is more about the blind way this area is being handled today. Like nothing is wrong. Anyone can see that's not the case. Stone's film attempts to open the eyes of the people, or more importantly, the governing bodies. More to the point? Although not flat out spoken about in this short film, one has to ask... what else gets washed over and buried? If something this obvious is deemed safe to pay-to-use... what else is being covered up?
As expected, technically, "Unaccountable" shows itself off rather well. Sweeping shots of the decaying buildings, interior cuts, and even some subdued symbolism all lend to the visually arresting nature of this documentary. Also included are some original promotional videos for the area - at least I think they are original - that directly contradicts the story being told here.
All this is rounded off with a voice over that explains the surroundings and tells the story of the Salton Sea. Sort of. You see reader, there really isn't all that much explained about the past. "Unaccountable" assumes you already know of this place. It assumes you know a lot more than you probably do. Well... more than I did anyhow.
There's nothing wrong with a production that makes a person want to find out more. I just wish a little more background, and even present life was given. "Unaccountable" touches on a lot of things, but never goes into all that much detail. I found I learned more from the included description, than from actually watching. This could be intentional. It could be that Stacey Stone has made a short doc that she wants "certain people" to see. That's fine... but with the care put into this project, having more detail would make it more appealing to the masses. So how could more have been put in while keeping the same quick run-time? A snappier narration.
"Unaccountable" flows nicely. There's no way to deny that. However, some of the voice over felt a little fragmented at times. Like it was spliced up in order to stretch out the length. Had the narration not be quite as separated, more general background could have been included. Using all the same shots. At least that's how it felt to me...
At the end of the day, Stone has delivered a visually interesting short film with something to say. What more could anyone really ask for? There's enough to make viewers want to find out more. Enough to spark that curious part of the brain. Is that not what it's all about? I think it is and personally, I believe "Unaccountable" earns and deserves every star I've awarded. Great job.