With an older brother in jail and living with their single mother on Pine Ridge Reservation, Johnny and his sister Jashuan's lives develop new challenges when their absentee cowboy father ...
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With an older brother in jail and living with their single mother on Pine Ridge Reservation, Johnny and his sister Jashuan's lives develop new challenges when their absentee cowboy father suddenly dies. The loss prompts Johnny to strike out for Los Angeles, but would mean leaving behind his beloved sister.Written by
On a DVD extra, director Chloé Zhao said of the tight budget, light plotting, and neo-realist style casting, "We're capturing truth - because truth is the only thing we can afford." The production used mostly local residents as actors, and, according to Zhao, 80% of the story depicted is true to the actual life of the young man playing Johnny Winters (John Reddy). The house that Winters lives in is the house that Reddy lived in, and Reddy, also one of twenty-five children to one father, has many of his real family members playing members of his family. In fact, the man shown delivering the eulogy for Winters' father is Reddy's actual father. See more »
Where we live, the Plains, the Badlands, things usually look the same. People are always related. They got the same old worries all the time. It gets really hot sometimes. You get tired of it, but there's things you always gotta do. It's always a hard place to leave. 'Cause that's all you got growing up. My sister, Jashaun, she's got a thing about this place. She sees things I don't. She's a good one. Whenever the storms are comin', the old timers would teach us to watch the cloud. And when the...
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Very Worth Seeing
I enjoyed the film, a contemporary portrait of growing up and coming of age in America in a very different setting and culture than most. Early on, the movie gave me the distinct feeling of watching a documentary rather than a fiction with rehearsed actors. Images tell the stories as much as the dialog, which is very spare. The characters seem very real, as real as their scruffy surroundings. A worthwhile portrait of a part of society most of us won't see, "really" see. The Badlands scenery is very stark and so are (most) of the lives depicted. It's interesting that I saw this film in a contemporary arts center, where it played for two nights. It seems films like this struggle to get on enough screens in enough places to get noticed much. Maybe some people will get to see in on video, I hope.
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