The Driftless Area (2015) Poster

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Murder - Metaphysics - Afterlife
cekadah20 March 2016
This is one of those films that should be watched two or three times to catch everything that is happening in this story. I will not attempt to relate the plot line here. My advice is to listen to the philosophical statements many of the characters speak during the movie. That is key in understanding whats happening just above the obvious.

Anton Yelchin as 'Pierre' finds himself, on his return to his hometown, caught between the real world and the metaphysical world and a murder. Human desire and action - is it impulsive or predetermined? What controls our life - lust for material gain and if so what effect does that have on the next life? Maybe I'm reading way too much into this film but I found it entertaining and thoughtful. The murder for profit eventually comes to the surface and Pierre's fate hangs by a thread. There is mystery and action enough to keep the casual viewer entertained.
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Quirky Indie Film is Worth a Watch
lavatch17 May 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I rented "The Driftless Area" from a Redbox machine and admired the offbeat nature of this low-budget fantasy-thriller.

A very fine cast is assembled with such veteran actors as Frank Langella and Cirian Hinds. Zooey Deschanel is lovely as Stella, the principal supernatural character. And Anton Yelchin is perfect as the Everyman figure named Pierre.

The film's narrative starts on the premise of cause-and-effect action and how seemingly random occurrences have fateful consequences. At the heart of the drama is the arson that is committed on a farm house with the petty criminal unaware that the home was occupied by a young woman. The film builds from that experience with a quirky set of characters playing out a fantasy revenge and redemption story.

The directorial approach to the film could have been more creative in evoking the supernatural aura surrounding the character of Stella. It was not clear, for instance, how Stella could appear to Pierre both as a real-life character and as a vision of light. There were too many confusing moments that could have been imaginatively developed in an otherwise thoughtful and sensitive film idea.
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Worth to see, but forgettable
BogdanH27 April 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I assume you haven't seen this movie yet and you're deciding if it's worth to spend time watching it. At the time I write this, there are only two reviews here, so...

First, current rating of about 6 stars is just right, I think. That is, if you like mystery stories with a touch of love. Of course, this movie can't compete with movies like City of angels, Sixth sense, What dreams may come, Ghost -to name some of the best in similar genre.

The Driftless Area has a good story, and I think cast was picked very well. Pierre (A.Yelchin) appears so "next door guy" which suits this role very good. And if it ever happens to me I see a "ghost", I hope it will look like Stella (Z. Deschanel).

OK, story interesting, good cast, nice photography... What I missed in this (kind of) movie, was: emotions. It's not about acting, it's just good story is presented badly. I can't judge who's fault that is. Relationship between Pierre and Stella is quite sterile, considering their destiny is to stay together (forever). In general, it's an easy to watch movie with almost expected ending. However, if you like complex and mind challenging content, see The Fountain (2006).

I give 6 stars.
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Melodic, quirky, somber, dreamy...
DukeEman20 November 2016
After watching this I really wanted to read the book, only because it was pretty decent, which means the book must be worth a read! It's a very dry melodic somber piece where characters are going through the motions of a placid existence, until the Universe creates a little chain of events that has a purpose to one's being. Yes, it's that kind of movie that keeps the mind ticking through the whole duration, and really does not give away too many answers, allowing the viewer to indulge in their own fantasy mindset and reasons.

Yeah, I know, another schmaltzy piece about life after death and the whole damn thing. But this one really downplays it. The tone and speed of this movie will not elate the majority, but then again, being amongst the majority can sometimes be bland and plain narrow-minded.

Yelchin is perfectly cast, toning it down a notch for his melancholy character. Zooey is literally angelic, and Langella adds another mystery level. Even the supporting cast played into the wry tone of this neat little production.
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Drifting Into The Never Never.
krocheav5 November 2016
From Canada - the land of great short subjects 'n documentaries but a few too many dismal features - what's in their psyche that produces some of these misguided movies - could it be the cold that numbs their senses?. The opening of this movie looked most intriguing. Photographically it's all class, it has good performances, the music maybe a bit loose but it fitted the story. Looking at the "story" - it seems too many writers and directors want to copy the Cohen Bros - problem is, now that the Cohen Bros have gone commercial and begun copying themselves, it's become tiresome and overdue for a face lift. Are there so few left out there who remember how to tell a strait-quality-story?. It doesn't need to be outlandish just interesting!.

Apart from D.O.P. Daniel Voldheim's quality cinematography (AKF: Into The White '12) the best thing about this film is the fine performance from interesting Russian born Anton Yelchin (Hearts In Atlantis" '01). What a great shame we lost this interesting young man in such a tragic accident - way before his time. Will look forward to seeing his final complete performance in "We Don't Belong Here" '16/17, hoping it may offer a better departure note for Anton. Farewell Chekov.

This story seemed to be heading down an OK path till it wanders off the trail, then ends up stumbling over itself. It's yet another stylish looking movie in search of better overall treatment and script. The cultists will excuse its sometimes pretentious pseudo "psychology" along with the usual bunch of foul-mouthed-bad-ass low lifers but, anyone looking for depth could find themselves being led into a dismal driftless bog.
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After as in Meta
kosmasp22 September 2016
Life after death? Or rather drifting around after it? Does the movie deliver answers to some questions it has or rather the viewer will have? Probably not might be the right answer. The performances are great all around. Especially with the weird dialog that takes place throughout the movie.

So if you are into weird, not easily explained (if at all) things happening and watching them unfold, dialog that either is on the nose or very subtle and not telling at all, you may have found the right movie for you. Towards the end there may a bit more action than some would like, but the true ending is "making up" for that ... if you don't like that though, than it will break the movie for you. You should see it coming though, not just because what I used as summary line ...
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Intrigue with a Great Ensemble Cast
westyrcp29 December 2017
A small human interest story in a small town in the geographic area in the title that involves, as a few others have already mentioned, questions and philosophies of life, death, fate, etc. I think the cast was great as is the cinematography and script.
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Great cast, remarkable photography... but very confusing story
HelenaHyde28 November 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Very unusual movie. I went to see this at the 2015's Tribeca Film Festival, because I really enjoyed the book and wanted to see how the movie adaption went. Even though it does follow the book, it has certain aspects that are different and parts of the movie become extremely confusing if you haven't been paying super close attention. It is beautifully shot, and the cast is especially remarkable. The main character, played by Yelchin, was in fact my least favorite one. His character is confusing, and you wonder what part is he actually playing within the plot. It's not a bad performance at all, but he does lack emotion in some of the scenes. Ms. Deschanel plays Stella, probably the most intriguing and haunting character in the story. She seems not to fit anywhere, and makes us wonder whether she's real or just an illusion. Her undeniable and almost ethereal beauty is especially highlighted in a scene where she is wearing a white dress - half the theatre gasped here, she was distressingly beautiful! And overall a great performance that shows her dramatic side is as good as her comedic, New Girl one. Probably my favorite performance in the film. Plaza has a short role in it, but she is really good. Very different from her Parks and Rec portrayal, but great nonetheless. I wish we'd gotten to see more of her, as I think she is in it for around two- three scenes. John Hawkes is wonderful as the "villain" of the story, and makes you hate him within ten minutes into the movie. I'd give it a 7/10- story is weak at some parts, but a great cast and beautiful photography makes up for those. I'm really hoping they release it soon so that I can give it another try. The ending was quick and open for interpretation- we are left wrecking our brains for the most likely outcome.
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Gordon-1112 August 2016
This film tells the story of a young man who is in love with a victim of arson. He finds a bag of cash, and his life becomes complicated because the crooks who own the cash come after him in the quiet small town.

The plot summary sounds interesting on paper, but unfortunately the film is not at all interesting. It feels like a bunch of incomplete jigsaw pieces being forced together. I don't quite care for any of the characters, even Zooey Deschanel's character who is a victim of arson. There's no thrill suspense even when crooks hunt Pierre down. Events in the film are muted, and the film is pretty uneventful and non happening. There's no connection between the characters themselves or with the viewers. What is the point of the story? I find it boring and forgettable.
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Red Velvet
frukuk3 August 2019
While the subject matter is a little reminiscent of David Lynch's Blue Velvet (1986), this film just doesn't come together. It's all frosting/icing on a very bland and unappetising base.

The basic flaws: Pierre (Anton Yelchin) is too weak and unsympathetic a character; Shane (John Hawkes) is laughably unthreatening. If you don't care what happens to Pierre and if you don't consider Shane to be a menacing character, then why invest in this?
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Good indie in the tradition of Fargo tv series
robertemerald6 April 2019
I compare this movie to Fargo tv series because both have a similar premise, of an innocent man/couple caught up in local level organised crime. That aspect of the movie is very clever. It's very indie though, with lots of folksy modern tunes underpinning the rather laconic action sequences and drama. It's also a rather cool and careful love affair, and even one of the criminals has a bit of a similar affair, underlining what looks like an intended irony. As such it's intelligently put together, a well-written script and story inspired by a novel. If you look to the special features 'making of' on the dvd, you'll see various cast and crew struggling with how to describe it. Noir is mentioned a couple of times. Perhaps that's worth noting, as this is a sufficiently unusual piece to hold some pride in itself. I'd describe it as picturesque, and that would apply to the careful (but not sweeping) cinematography as well. There's an important spiritual side, which could have been treated with a little less slap dash. To explain, certain ideas are presented as fait accompli, and, to my mind, should have been given more spooky for the audience to willingly run with it. Granted though, don't turn to this one if looking for an action film to thrill. Look to it if you like young love, good writing and interesting character study. Great actors here, and well worth a look on a Saturday afternoon.
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Coptic and confusing
dlrowell-9816528 January 2018
A really wonderful book by Tom Drury, converted into an aimless, confusing mess. Anton Yelchin's Pierre seems aimless and lost throughout, and Zooey Deschanel's character lacks the vigor of the book. The best character was Shane.
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Wrong place at the wrong time.
michaelRokeefe6 May 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Pierre Hunter (Anton Yelchin) , is a jobless bartender full of optimism and maybe a bit naive, making his way back to his small hometown after the death of his parents. He literally falls for the enigmatic and winsome Stella (Zoey Deschanel), who becomes a partner in a hazardous cat-and-mouse mystery that involves a duffel bag full of money. Will conscience or fear of criminal consequence split the couple?

Zachary Sluser directs and writes the screenplay. Also appearing are: Frank Langella, Alia Shawkat, John Hawkes, Benjamin Rogers and Ciaran Hinds.
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A just plain awful hipster transcendental attempt for cult status
alanpgini14 July 2016
I should know better by now that when producers do an existential movie, that it will be bad. But yep, here I go again watching it. I guess I'm looking for a life raft to save the sinking ship. It stars Zooey Deschanel,and Frank Langella, and a bunch of non-entities. I don't know what possessed Zooey and Frank to do this thing. Maybe they needed the work. They did make the most of a very bad situation, with great acting. I'm still wondering though, what the non-fleshed out Langella character was supposed to be. An angel? A later day biblical prophet? Good grief. The producers put in a basic plot, threw in some cryptic existential dialog and alternative music, then try for ending transcendence and what have you got?...Garbage. Whats even sadder, is that the slightly supernatural plot line isn't even original. Though I wish it was. That way, we'd have seen less of these kind of movies. l give it a 1 of 10. Some producers want to go for cult status and video sales, and all we get is a waste of time. How bout more story, and less otherworldly goofiness people? How this has got a 5.3 on IMDb so far, is beyond me. I'd like to rate it below the one I gave it.
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Not bad but not exactly great either
Seth_Rogue_One19 May 2016
This movie is a bit hard to explain, as it often jump back and forwards in time and tbh even after finishing it I think many (including myself) will struggle a bit to figure out what the movie was actually about.

But sometimes the destination is not what's important but the journey there is as they say, and the movie for the more-part entertains with mostly quirky abstract dialogue that could only exist in a movie (or a novel of which this movie is based on), often with a very dry sense of humor.

The first half is pretty stellar, the second half halters a bit gets a bit uneven and there are a lot of loose ties that remain untied even after the credits start rolling.

But it was still worth watching and it's nice to see Zoeey Deschanel in something new and the rest of the cast does fine as well.
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