2014, Jake Paltrow -- download
we were speaking of apocalypse. This is not that, but more the slow burn ending of the world and the people living in that po-ap age. This world is ending as the water goes away, as the people pull back to the cities behind the wall (not unlike Beasts of the Southern Wild), as those they leave behind struggle desperately to survive, fighting to keep a way of life they barely remember. The water may be gone, but its only mostly gone.
Michael Shannon plays Ernest Holm, alcoholic and father of two. He lives in a dust bowl, protecting his land, but for what reason, even he is not sure. He makes enough money carrying supplies to the water miners in the mountains, those rough men who live off alcohol and dirty magazines, digging the water out of the dust, to be sent only to the city. Where other movies would have them drilling for oil, these men drill for water. In fact, this movie feels like many other movies. Think any Australian Outback movie where the world has ended and blood is drawn over what is left. Think There Will Be Blood and the obsessive oilmen. Think westerns and their duels with the rich and ambitious, while eking out lives in dust and violence.
I am not sure if I liked this movie, but I did like how it presented itself. Of course I did, its po-ap. But presentation wise, no its not. In fact, it felt less bleak than The Rover. There are used robot salesmen, for frack's sake. There is civilization but these people chose to live outside it, not wishing to be under the heels of civilized life. But beside the struggle for water and life, there is the familiar desire for control, power and family. Nicholas Hoult is the interloper who seeks to take Elle Fanning, daughter of Holm away from the homesteader. Kodi Smit-McPhee is the other Holm, seeking to keep his family going. While hanging onto the western motif, their interactions are fun to watch and well acted, but in the end, nothing is really compelling. Well, maybe the use of a realistic bigdog robot.