BAD LAND: ROAD TO FURY (2014)
aka Young Ones
Written and directed by Jake Paltrow
When the water disappeared, towns fought. Then friends. Then neighbours. With an everlasting drought, water has become the ultimate currency for those who have it and greed has meant that those without have suffered. One such man is farmer Ernest Holm who’s land is parched but he believes with a little water, it’ll flourish once more and so will the life for his wife and two children, Jerome and Mary. However, Mary’s boyfriend Flem’s father once owned the land and Flem will stop at nothing to claim what he believes his rightfully his.
Post-apocalyptic drama BAD LAND: ROAD TO FURY tells the story of a world of divide between those who have and those who haven’t. The people in the city are doing much better than those in the country who are struggling to make ends meet in a land without water. No water means the land is scorched with no crops able to go. A lack of crops means a lack of livelihood which in turn means not much money for famers such as Holm. Holm’s only way of rehydrating his land is by convincing pipe layers to route water to his land but that’ll cost money which he hasn’t got…
Michael Shannon stars as the down-on-his-luck farmer Ernest who’s doing his best to make ends meet and look after his son and daughter. He’s not too pleased to see his daughter Mary hanging around with Flem who really wants the farming-aid machine which Ernest bought to replace his injured donkey. Nicolas Hoult steals the show as the cunning young man Flem who’s charm and good looks fool Ernest’s daughter Mary (an underused Elle Fanning) as he seeks to embed himself within the family. His shiftiness is clear from the start from the viewer’s point of view, but to other characters in the film, he’s merely a confident man with aspirations and ambitions. Teenager Jerome (Kodi Smit-McPhee), Ernest’s son, however, is a geeky sort who keeps quiet and keeps his head down but being the smart kid he is, he begins to sense all ain’t right with Flem.
Whilst BAD LAND: ROAD TO FURY has some great performances, the plot of the movie fails to grip the viewer. I found it as exciting as living on barron, dried up land and found myself clock-watching throughout the duration, which of course seemed to drag on and on. This isn’t the first time I’ve felt this way about post-apocaylptic films in urgent need of water, as I felt it with The Well (The Last Survivors) which shared a similar theme. The water-fuelled mission, the orange hues and dried up dialogue make me feel as though I’m doing a trek across hot sands than watching a movie. I’m supposed to be thrilled or affected emotionally by movies but with BAD LAND: ROAD TO FURY, I feel drained.
The production values for the movie are pretty decent and some scenes starring Hoult and Smit-McPhee are certainly worth a look but as a whole, the movie lacks a juicy plot to sink your teeth into.