Christopher Masterson’s star of fame was born on the show Malcolm in the Middle, as Malcolm’s older brother. His acting career other than that has not been in the A-List spotlight, however, I found him leading the cast of the film Waterborne and decided: let’s see about this guy’s talent. Unfortunately the camera ate him; I’ll explain in a second.

Ben Rekhi wrote this low budget film and made it his directorial debut. It is a story about a biological attack on the Los Angeles water system forcing people to avoid drinking water until the government clears it. In a branching path following several different people, ala “Crash” (not the NC-17 sex in cars thing, but the Oscar winning racial thing), and their struggles coping within the crisis and the changes it has brought to their neighborhood; or attributes not changed though amplified publicly, such as an undercurrent of racism.

The actors all do a fine job of acting in the film and seem more like real people than say if Tom Cruise and Vin Diesel were to have stepped in front of the cameras and said they were thirsty. However, the camera seemed almost like a killer from a stalker movie out to eat the brains of the stars, always zooming in all shaky-like. The widescreen version of the film looks like a full screen version and I could only guess that full screen would have us up Masterson’s nose parting through the hairs to Boogertown. Action sequences are handled in a similar fashion, blocking most of the view.

Unlike Crash this film fails to achieve the sense of discovery that was present with the Oscar winning story. The paths do not weave together in any entertaining or meaningful way and nothing is really learned about the human condition, at least nothing exploratory or new; or at least feeling new and interesting. The scenario with the water is probably quite laughable to those who live in high drought regions, seeing as the characters in the film are going stark raving mad after just a couple of days with out water. Heck, I tend to drink canned soda almost every day, bad on the teeth and tummy, but if the tap water wasn’t flowing it would sustain me.

Masterson has a friend in the film who when introduced is a pot smoking, laid back sort of fellow who distrust the government and isn’t buying into the water scare. On top of that he states he would rather go live in Mexico and that we as a country probably deserve this sort of happening due to us always hurting other nations. Then he leaves the apartment and while sitting in traffic begins making fun of an Arab/Indian looking man with racist humor involving his headwear. The character’s actions contradict who he was set-up to be even further as the film progresses almost wondering if someone did a script swap in the middle of filming, unless we are to buy into that a day without water has given him an immediate character arc downward. To top it off when he was making fun of the man’s ethnic headwear, asking if it was hot under it, he himself was wearing a stocking cap that was probably just as warm.

The other weird thing to me was: why were the national guard members sleeping together at night, as in right on each other sharing sleeping bags?

The camera shots and angles can be forgiven, it is a low budget film and it was a risk for someone to have invested in. The acting is done well, but none of it is believable to me and the overall package is a dud. Some risks aren’t worth taking, like drinking water in Mexico, and some movies involving water aren’t worth watching.