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The Dry Land (2010)

R | | Drama | 24 January 2010 (USA)
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2:30 | Trailer
A U.S. soldier returning home from war struggles to reconcile his experiences abroad with the life and family he left in Texas.
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ryan O'Nan ... James
America Ferrera ... Sarah
Jason Ritter ... Michael
Melissa Leo ... Martha
Wilmer Valderrama ... Raymond Gonzales
Diego Klattenhoff ... Henry
Ana Claudia Talancón ... Adriana
Evan Jones ... Joe Davis
June Diane Raphael ... Susie
Ethan Suplee ... Jack
Zion Sandoval Zion Sandoval ... Ian
Sasha Spielberg ... Sally the Checkout Girl
Benito Martinez ... David Valdez
David Smith David Smith ... Bill
Misty Upham ... Gloria the Receptionist
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Storyline

A thesis picture. James arrives home to West Texas from Iraq. He doesn't remember much about the war, and it's soon clear he has post traumatic stress. He takes a job at an abattoir. After an alcohol-fueled fights with co-workers and his wife, he seeks help at the VA. He returns to find she's leaving him until he can regain control. He leaves his dog with his ailing mother and drives northeast to visit an Army buddy and find out what it is he can't remember. His friend won't say much, so James drives on to Walter Reed Hospital where another friend convalesces. Will James find out what he's repressed, and if he does, will it make anything better? What options does he have? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language, sexual content and disturbing violent situations | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

24 January 2010 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

American Tragic See more »

Filming Locations:

Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,351, 1 August 2010

Gross USA:

$11,777

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$11,777
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Connections

Features Halo: Combat Evolved (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Drowning on dry land, an effective tale of PTSD
12 February 2010 | by viewfromhereSee all my reviews

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the source of many ongoing casualties of war. While not a condition restricted only to actual battle, the disorder has become increasingly well understood, even if not always well diagnosed and treated. The Dry Land explores the deep pain and disorientation that affects returning Iraq war veteran James as he tries to reacquire "normal" life in Texas. James becomes increasingly dysfunctional and desperate in the face of normal life.

The melancholic beauty of the film lies in the telling of this story through a highly personal struggle. We experience the effects on James' community of wife, extended family, friends, acquaintances, and others along the way. The horror of war is artfully portrayed without a single flashback to events in military service. This made the movie more effective as a probe into the actual effects of PTSD. We have seen plenty of war footage elsewhere, but not nearly enough of war's effects in day to day lives of the many victims. In reality, we are all the victims of war in one way or another. People like James pay an extremely high price, and our whole society in diminished through all the ripple effects.

The Dry Land exposes a reality of war that we all need to consider, and hopefully translate into action. James' family and friends are ineffective in all their efforts to help, the military appears in a reasonable but impotent light, and no answers are proposed. James really struggles alone despite attempts to lift him. Ultimately we likewise must struggle alone in many ways. The ancient Hebrew prophets cry out again and again against violence and injustice. We readily visualize the immediate effects of violence in blood and killing, but the entirety of the toll is much greater and deeper. "But they do not know how to do what is right," declares the LORD, "these who hoard up violence and devastation in their cities" (Amos 3:10). There is a devastation that still comes into our own cities, far from the killing fields of war. Will we ever count the real cost?


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