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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Pleasant enough

6/10
Author: ReganRebecca from Canada
7 December 2013

Empire of Dirt is a rather clichéd tale, the story of drop-out single mom Lena who, despite managing to get herself clean and working as a community leader for other struggling aboriginal youth, finds herself struggling to support her troubled teenage daughter. When her resources run out she returns to the town of her birth and reconnects with the family and friends she was once so quick to let go of as a pregnant teenage mother so many years ago.

Despite the trite storyline which neatly skips over the usual beats of the story, the movie is somewhat rescued by the lovely performance of its three leads. Newcomer Cara Gee appears in nearly every frame of the movie and acts natural and graceful and Shay Eyre as her teenage daughter Peeka matches her beat for beat with the two having a believable mother/daughter chemistry.

The movie is also lovingly shot and the camera luxuriates on the outdoor beauty of the town of Lena's birth.

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scattered but rewarding

Author: tsimshotsui from .
6 April 2017

66/100 Empire of Dirt has scattered narratives and lack of control that is not unusual with stories and perspectives that rarely get explored and told. It's a case of trying to include too many things because one rarely gets the chance to. Among its problems are certain threads that were under-explored and a confusing time jump, but the subject matter and issues definitely make it more than worth the effort. Jennifer Podemski is especially excellent as Minnie. She had this incredible presence and extreme believability.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Excellent drama!

9/10
Author: BigLaxFan94 from Mono, Ontario - Canada
30 November 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I loved this film because there is not one ounce of sugar coating of how modern-day Natives are portrayed. Three generations of women all come together to vent out their lives. It's OK for families to argue since it gets all the anger and frustration out. It was great to see Sarah Podemski in this one. I've always had a crush on her... she was always so pretty! But I think the whole point to this film was to show all the negative residue blows up in the faces of all 3 women here, the bad residue from all the countless years of genocide Natives had to face for over 500 years. Unfortunately it nearly tore this family apart had it not been for Lena and her daughter moving into Jennifer Podemski's house. As fate would have it, an argument leads to Lena and Peeka leaving temporarily. Lucky for them they had the nearby relatives otherwise they would have been stuck. But after they returned to Jennifer's house, things settled down and went back to normal. The accident scene where Lena got struck by the vehicle: I thought Lena dreamt that because as she was speaking to the wolf, no voice came out of her. So I thought it was a dream sequence.

As for the scene where Lena caught the fish/picnic with the guy whom she thought wanted him to be Peeka's surrogate father: that was just one of the many examples of lying, treachery and deceit displayed on the part of what non-Natives have done to Natives. The genocide never stops! When Lena was lied to, that was yet another example of genocide. But anyways... this film deserves an Academy Award... THAT'S how good it is. That's why I give this a 9 out of 10.

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