The Land DVD Review
A land of clichés.
Cisco, Boobie, Junior, and Patty Cake are four inner-city high school students/friends living in Cleveland. Their lives are in various states of disarray and their future career options seem limited. The group resorts to a life of crime to make some cash on the side. When they steal a car, they discover it has bags of Molly in it. Needing money for skateboarding contest fees and so forth, they decide to sell the drugs. To no surprise whatsoever, they soon discover that they have stolen the drugs from a drug dealer named Mamma and she wants them back. Cisco and company soon find suffering from their bad decisions which could destroy their lives.
With “The Land,” writer/director Steven Caple Jr. had a real opportunity to tell a down-to-earth indie film about friendship, life, poverty, mistakes, but instead he creates a story that comes off like an after school special. Virtually everything in the film feels phony and derivative of superior films such as last year’s “Dope” and the classic “Boyz N The Hood.” On top of that, the film is severely lacking in characterization, the dialogue is clunky, and there are overdone long shots that do nothing but pad the film.
Now, that’s not to say that it doesn’t have its moments. Even though it doesn’t quite work, the film’s darker edge in the latter part of the story gave the film some much needed depth. It was interesting to see what becomes of the character Cisco who is arguably the only developed character in the movie. On the subject of the cast, there are some familiar faces here included Kim Coates, Machine Gun Kelly, Erykah Badu, and Michael Kenneth Williams (who is having a banner year). Aside from Coates, these cast members are largely wasted, but they at least class up the film.
Last, but not least, the film’s soundtrack will probably garner more attention than the film itself as it features tunes by the likes of Erykah Badu, Nas, Machine Gun Kelly and more. The songs are frequently more interesting than what is happening on screen.
Presentation: 2.40:1. How does it look? The DVD boasts a solid transfer.
Audio Track: Dolby Digital 5.1. How does it sound? This track is a winner.
* IFC Films trailers.
* “The Land” trailer.
* “A Cleveland Tale”- A very brief featurette containing film clips, set footage, interviews, and discussions about Cleveland.
Overall Thoughts: “The Land” simply feels too familiar and comes off as generic as the title.
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