August 7, 2016


REVIEW: The Land

There’s an authenticity to the conflict and the portrayal of the characters that fills the screen; but the plot is hindered by trying to weave two stories together. At points it feels like it’s not quite sure which story to focus on until it makes a decision and forces one to the sideline.

“The Land” centers on Cisco, played by Jorge Lendeborg Jr., who struggles to find his way in the inner streets. He hangs with three other teenage boys and the the four of them dream of making a name for themselves in the world of skateboarding. But in the meantime, they carjack for cash.

Carjacking is dangerous and there isn’t much money in it for them. That’s a problem because they need money to enter a skateboarding contest. Their dream is to become professional skateboarders in hopes of escaping a future of mundane labor. 

The skateboarding is fun to watch as they find deserted building to do their thing. But it eventually takes a back seat to the main plot until it’s completely forgotten. And that’s too bad because I never get the sense of what losing this dream means to them; that’s because there is something more pressing going on in their lives.

I think the story should have left the “dream” part out and just have the guys enjoy skateboarding. Because we never really see them pursue it. Instead it feels like a forced plot point to get them to need to make fast cash and quite frankly, needing cash should be enough to work. They’re poor and the necessities of life, such as paying rent and buying food, is good enough motivation.

The second story or main story, that shoves the skateboarding plot aside, is about the four guys finding a stash of drugs.

They are then left to make a decision that would change their lives and strain their relationship.

Caple, the director, takes chances. He tells a story of these inner city boys, who are inexperienced with life and have only each other to find guidance. They are not written as heroes. Caple is not afraid to show their criminal sides. And he manages to create likeable boys while doing it.

The main villain, named Momma, could be stronger. Though Linda Emond does a great job with the role. So the story uses a second villain to compensate and, as a result, he becomes a one-note villain that does things that make little sense except to force the boys into action.

“The Land” takes risks telling the story of characters who break the laws as they navigate through their inner city lives. There are moments that feel predictable as if the story is moving through eventualities that are obvious. But then things take a turn and Caple offers us a chilling introspection on inner city life and the difficult, life-changing choices some find themselves.  

 Score: 8.25/10


About Lisa

Passionate about movies and writing. Hopes to someday be a published writer. So when she's not staring at the tube, she's spilling her imagination onto a blank page.

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