Bad Land: Road to Fury (also know as Young Ones) (15)
Directed by: Jake Paltrow
Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Kodi Smit-McPhee & Michael Shannon
Running time: 100 min
Set in the future when water is hard to find, a teenage boy sets out to protect his family and survive.
Ernest Holm (Michael Shannon) is a farmer desperately trying to obtain water to grow his crops in a land where is in scarce quantities. Helping out is his son Jerome (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and daughter Mary (Elle Fanning).
Struggling to make ends meet, Ernest makes supply runs to the local water extraction team, but efforts to obtain water go un-heard. With his new acquisition of a robot “carrier”, Ernest has caught the attention of Flem Lever (Nicholas Hoult) who is also in love with his daughter. With arable land in short supply, Ernest soon realises that providing for his family may be tougher than he ever imagined.
Bad Land: road to Fury is shot featuring baron desert landscapes, Sergio Leone style ultra-close-ups and a narration that is as baron as the landscape itself. The script is full of half stories and the audience is given merely glimpses into the characters’ pasts or reasons for their actions. There is no back story to let the viewer know how the current state of the landscape came about.
The actors seemed to be undervalued in this film in that they are credible and capable of so much more, yet never really given the chance to perform. Instead Director Jack Paltrow concentrates the film purely on shot after shot of desert… and sand…. and rock…. and a dead tree…. with more sand.
The narrative is told through chapters, yet the audience can easily foresee what the outcome will be 20 minutes before it appears on screen. The dialogue feels clunky and doesn’t flow freely and as the film’s running time progresses you may feel yourself as depressed as the landscape.
Like the robotic helper, the film drearily plods along from one scene to the next, with only brief glimpses of what could have been brilliant exposition scenes. With little to no screen time devoted to these, the film simply becomes disjointed.
There is little to no action in this movie and yet, for a world almost void of water and yet technologically advanced, the remaining settlers communicate by wireless radio. This is just one of many plot hole elements in the movie that should have been explored more but ends up leaving the viewer confused rather than having educated guesses. Indeed the biggest question would be why they are trying to find water in a desert???
Stunning landscapes sadly do not make an interesting movie when it lacks free flowing narratives or addresses basic plot elements; this is a low budget futuristic movie that could have been so much more.
2 out of 5 Nerds