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Emilio Ruiz Barrachina
Ana Claudia Talancón,
A thesis picture. James arrives home to West Texas from Iraq. He doesn't remember much about the war, and it's soon clear he has post traumatic stress. He takes a job at an abattoir. After an alcohol-fueled fights with co-workers and his wife, he seeks help at the VA. He returns to find she's leaving him until he can regain control. He leaves his dog with his ailing mother and drives northeast to visit an Army buddy and find out what it is he can't remember. His friend won't say much, so James drives on to Walter Reed Hospital where another friend convalesces. Will James find out what he's repressed, and if he does, will it make anything better? What options does he have? Written by
A ponderous message-movie that is pretty-much all drama (there is very little "lite" here). The Dry Land is a story of an Iraq war vet returning home to rural western Texas to the loving arms of his wife (America Ferrera -- TV's "Ugly Betty", Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) only to realize he cannot make things "right" in his mind with what occurred on the other side of the world.
He meets fellow soldiers and friends and tries to make peace; but the film depicts the folly of war. None of the actors do a poor job on this film and the subject matter is important. The Dry Land is a film one hates to criticize or put-down as I am afraid the criticism will be misconstrued. My problem(s) with the film are not the war or the actors on the screen ... this is simply an "average film" from an un-proved director (this is Ryan Piers Williams' first full-length production).
Humans aren't made to be killing machines without something inside each of us changing. For a brief time, it felt as if this was going to be yet another retread of the Americanized version of the Danish film Brothers; but it eventually steered itself into a different direction which was good. Saying that -- there really isn't much else to discuss about this quiet film.
Like it's title suggests ... the story doesn't meander like a river -- it is just all-out and flat. There is an expanse of land to look at and take in -- and that is what this film is all about. Look at war. Look at its problems. Look at its "solutions". Look at us. Look ...
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