Film Review by Kam Williams
Eco-Documentary Chronicles Genius’ Effort to Solve the World’s Water Shortage Crisis
Dean Kamen is a genius inventor from the R. Buckminster Fuller school of design science, meaning his mission in life is less to maximize profits than to create gadgets to alleviate the quality of life of the least of
his brethren. Until now, he is probably best known as the creator of the Segway, the self-balancing two-wheeler which was supposed to supersede both the car and the bicycle in mass popularity.
Dean’s new gizmo is the SlingShot, a water purification system he hopes will afford all of humanity access to potable drinking water. The machine is basically a vapor compression distiller capable of extracting pure H2O from everything from urine to sludge to seawater.
Thus, it should come in handy to billions all across the planet, since approximately 50% of illness comes as consequence of consumption of water borne pathogens. The only reason Dean hasn’t already delivered his lifesaving device to those in need is because of interference on the part of foot-dragging politicians and multinational corporations solely concerned with their bottom line.
Perhaps this optimistic documentary will inspire a grassroots effort on behalf of the miraculous godsend. Directed by Paul Lazarus, SlingShot divides its time between making infomercial-style sales pitches and weaving a reverential biopic. But whether focusing on Dean’s eccentricities or on his latest pet project, the picture proves pretty fascinating from beginning to end.
A compelling character study of a likable do-gooder whose only regret is that he has but one life to devote to his fellow man.
Very Good (3 stars)
Running time: 88 minutes
Distributor: The Film Collaborative