Three environmentalists' homegrown plot to blow up a controversial dam unravels into a journey of doubt, paranoia and unintended consequences. As organic farmer Josh, high society dropout Dena and ex-Marine Harmon plan, carry out and then witness the fallout of an attention-grabbing act of sabotage, they find their own personal limits tested.
So this was a film that boasts a pretty solid cast for such an indie movie. Jesse Eisenberg is normally plays moody and yet clever types of characters. Perhaps it is the scriptwriters that in the past have him such brilliantly cutting dialogue that made him interesting to watch. However here I think that is what is missing. Without good dialogue he comes across as just a whinier emo kid who couldn't be less happier if he tried. That being said this sort of thing certainly sits it my mind as to whether this was what the filmmaker was going for? It is that age old question that I always ask when reviewing a movie; did it achieve what it set out to do? That becomes the difference between personal taste and unbiased reviewing. For example for my tastes this film is too slow and the lead character lacks any likeability, however perhaps that is exactly what the director had envisioned for this film. To create more of a sense of doom and gloom rather than being compelling.
There are times when a slow burning story is great to watch as it builds in intensity as the pieces fall into place. Often this gives the viewer a real sense of discovery and even achievement when you see it come together. Perhaps for some viewers this film would have that. Not really for me.
On the flipside of my own disappointment in this film there is another element that I did find interesting and perhaps this is its redeeming feature. There is a wonderful questioning of extreme protesting and does it have a place. In the beginning of the film we are led to believe that things won't change unless people take firm action. Of course the wheels can easily fall off the faster you drive. (Not a mechanic, so I am not sure if that is literally true, so let's just say it's a metaphor)
A slow burner that you really need to be in the mood for, however it does raise some interesting questions about the risks involved with extreme protest action. To me though it never really went anywhere.
DVD Releases: 25th February 2015
Rating: M - Contains violence and offensive language
Duration: 112 minutes
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, Peter Sarsgaard, Alia Shawkat, Logan Miller, Kai Lennox, Katherine Waterston
Director: Kelly Reichardt (Wendy and Lucy, Old Joy)
Paul Dano and Rooney Mara were considered for the lead roles but Jesse Eisenberg and Dakota Fanning were cast.