Saturday, April 22, 2017

Talking Tribeca: Abundant Acreage Available

I’ve had the pleasure of screening a number of selections from this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, which takes place April 19th-April 30th.

Abundant Acreage Available
Directed by Angus MacLachlan
Festival Screenings

Some people plant roots in the most literal sense. While there are those who move from home to home on a regular basis, left to answer the question of where they are from with a few qualifiers, others grow up in one place and never leave. Trips out of state are infrequent or even nonexistent, and death seems the only real possibility for relocation from the place they call home. When presented with the idea that others don’t view them as quite as tethered to their home and land as they thought, it’s fair to assume and expect a negative reaction.

Tracy (Amy Ryan) is deeply connected to the family farm that she lives on and runs with her brother Jesse (Terry Kinney). The death of their father has left them both struggling to move on, as Tracy buries his ashes in the dirt on their property and Jesse, who considers himself a deeply religious man, yearns for a more proper and official Christian burial. Their steady if unexciting lives are interrupted even more by the arrival of three brothers, Hans (Max Gail), Charles (Steve Coulter), and Tom (Francis Guinan), who pitch a tent to camp out on their land and then reveal that Tracy and Jesse’s father bought the farm from their father when they were children. Their unwillingness to leave strikes Tracy very poorly, while Jesse is motivated almost entirely by guilt to consider ceding the farm to what he considers to be its rightful owners.

This quiet film features only five performers and takes place entirely on the family farm as two very different sets of siblings, each with their own interpersonal dynamics built from the forty to fifty years of life that they’ve shared together. Ryan, who ten years ago was nominated for an Oscar for “Gone Baby Gone,” delivers a fiercely committed performance, complemented well by a less showy turn from Kinney, who was a great part of “Good Behavior” in a louder and more exaggerated role. Gail, Coulter, and Guinan make these three older men, who sleep each night cuddled up in a tent, dynamic and personable in their own ways. This film doesn’t reach any particularly stirring or satisfying conclusion, but it does serve as a solid look at what it means to be firmly linked to something less moveable and more permanent than just the people in your life.


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