Fractured Land


Eco-friendly independent documentaries are sometimes a hard sell to the general moviegoing public.  Unless you have pre-invested interest in the subject matter (in this case, fracking) or the film’s guiding hand (in this case, indigenous activist Caleb Behn), these movies can come across as droning strolls through textbooks of material.  It’s a shame since so many of these films are thoughtful and important.

Fractured Land positions me on the fence.  Damien Gillis and Fiona Rayher’s documentary is informative about fracking, and how industries are careless when evading confrontation and carrying out harmful operations.  Yet, the doc is unambitious and mechanical.  It doesn’t have a rhythm because the filmmakers weren’t interested in finding one.  The doc drops in speeches and interviews in a manner that suggests the sequential message is more important than the medium its being told through.  The film is the cinematic equivalent to reading someone’s thesis paper.

I really like Caleb Behn though, and I appreciate the efforts he has endured to save the land he loves.  For an extremely passionate individual, he’s mild-mannered and well-kempt.  He keeps his peace through his research and takes the necessary steps to plant seeds of knowledge.  He’s the ideal person to voice these concerns, and the perfect host for viewers.

Behn has experience in his craft, but the documentarians are amateurs – Fractured Land is a feature length debut for Gillis and Rayher.  Throughout their careers, they’ll both learn how to pace material and maintain a cinematic trademark to their work.  I believe this since they occasionally show potential in Fractured Land with beautiful ariel cinematography and one particularly impressive montage of Caleb bringing awareness topped off with a couple of energetic shots of him loosening his tie and shedding his skin after a long and positive day.

The message is strong and I have no problem with complimenting the flick, but I can’t ignore my boredom with Fractured Land.  It deters me from a recommendation.


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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie


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