Set in the future when water is hard to find, a teenage boy sets out to protect his family and survive.


Jake Paltrow


Jake Paltrow
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Shannon ... Ernest Holm
Nicholas Hoult ... Flem Lever
Elle Fanning ... Mary Holm
Kodi Smit-McPhee ... Jerome Holm
Robert Hobbs ... Caleb Moore
David Butler David Butler ... Sam Lever
Aimee Mullins ... Katherine Holm
Christy Pankhurst Christy Pankhurst ... Robbie
Alex McGregor ... Sooz
David Clatworthy David Clatworthy ... Calvin Hooyman
Liah O'Prey ... Anna
Carel Nel ... Bandit
Andy McPhee ... Foreman
Barry Armitage Barry Armitage ... Well-dressed man
Ben Horowitz Ben Horowitz ... Water Guard


Set in a near future when water has become the most precious and dwindling resource on the planet, one that dictates everything from the macro of political policy to the detailed micro of interpersonal family and romantic relationships. The land has withered into something wretched. The dust has settled on a lonely, barren planet. The hardened survivors of the loss of Earth's precious resources scrape and struggle. Ernest Holm (Michael Shannon) lives on this harsh frontier with his children, Jerome ( Kodi Smit-McPhee) and Mary (Elle Fanning) fends his farm from bandits, works the supply routes, and hopes to rejuvenate the soil. But Mary's boyfriend, Flem Lever (Nicholas Hoult), has grander designs. He wants Ernest's land for himself, and will go to any length to get it. From writer/director Jake Paltrow comes a futuristic western, told in three chapters, which inventively layers Greek tragedy over an ethereal narrative that's steeped deeply in the values of the American West. Written by Laurent Boyé

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


In a future without water vengeance will rain.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Nicholous Hoult & Kodi Smit-McMphee would later reunite in X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) See more »


The movie focuses on them needing a robot to transport water, but the main character is later seen driving around in a pickup truck much larger than the robot. See more »


[first lines]
Jerome Holm: I never saw this land when it was green. My father did. He worked it before the drought came. He used to talk about it all the time. He used to talk about the wheat they grew, and the pride they felt. He always believed in the land. Even as the fights over water first divided states, then towns, and then neighbors. Most people who could, left. But he had his reasons for staying. He was convinced the land would come back. It just needed water. And he was right.
See more »


To Beat the Devil
Written by Kris Kristofferson
Performed by Kris Kristofferson (as Kristoffer Kristofferson)
Published by Universal Music - Careers
Courtesy of Columbia Nashville
By arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
See more »

User Reviews

Slow Burning Futuristic Western Tale
6 June 2015 | by t-dooley-69-386916See all my reviews

This is set in the future when after prolonged droughts water has become the most precious commodity on the planet. The story is told in three chapters from the perspectives of the three main players. Ernst Holm comes first; he has stuck it out on his dehydrated farmstead. He has alcohol issues, a wife in hospital and two young children, his daughter Mary and son Jerome.

He ekes an existence by servicing the local water mine and life is hard. His daughter has a beau in the shape of Flem Lever (Nicholas Hoult) who has designs on both her and her daddies land. He soon decides to put his designs into action with repercussions for all.

Now this is an indie effort and the CGI is excellent despite that. The story is a slow burner but it is one that is very much worth staying with. Michael Shannon an Ernst is particularly effective as the guilt ridden, hard bitten man who is clinging on to hope. The sci- fi parts in terms of machines are also done quite well, there is some action, but this is a character piece with violence as a driver for the story and not the raison d'être. I like dystopian futuristic films and this is one that goes for that in most parts whilst still clinging to some of the more regular societal norms and I felt they got the mix really well. If you like to have to think about a film, but not too much, then there may well be something of merit for you here.

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South Africa | Ireland | USA



Release Date:

17 October 2014 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Young Ones See more »

Filming Locations:

South Africa


Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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