|Index||3 reviews in total|
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.
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.
*** 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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