20 June 2024
From This Land (20220

Film Review – This Land (2022)

It is early November 2020. Against the backdrop of a global pandemic and the strains of a worldwide recession, American citizens are about to cast their votes for who will be the next president of the United States of America. Will current president Donald Trump win a second term? Or will his political rival Joseph Biden become the forty-sixth president? It is a deeply important day for America and the outcome will see millions either rejoice or despair.

This Land, a documentary film from Matthew Palmer, is set on that fateful November day and follows a diverse group of Americans as they set out to vote. In the film each person discusses their own life and the aspects of their lives that are affected by the politics of their country. Their views vary wildly but each is stringent on their reasons for the way that they will cast their vote.

This Land offers a fascinating insight into the politics of the average, everyday person. Rather than hearing the insights of political pundits or even politicians themselves, the audience gets to see the thought process behind an individual’s vote. The most fascinating part of seeing why people vote is seeing how that vote will fall and This Land subverts stereotypes with the people that it follows.

For example This Land features a multi-racial gay couple, a husband with a deported Mexican wife and a mother who was encouraged to abort her son who has Down’s Syndrome. If asked who each of these people would vote for then you may think that it would be easy to guess, however their answers will likely surprise you. Documentaries such as this are at their most effective when they are completely unbiased, and This Land excels at being the quiet eye behind the camera. There is never any judgement or push towards either side. Republican or Democratic – it doesn’t matter in This Land.

What does matter however is the person behind the political view. This Land could perhaps be criticised for not delving deep enough into more of the issues surrounding the divide between political leanings or perhaps only showing a minute part of a person’s life which envelops so much. However the glimpse into only a small slice of these lives is actually what makes This Land so captivating. The audience does not need to know everything about these people’s lives and what we do know only drives home that beneath our political views is the starkest of ironies – we are all the same. We all have the same worries and doubts, we all have long, hard days and fun days that go too quickly, we all breathe the same air and look up at the same night sky. We are all human and at the end of the day, regardless of how we vote, we all do what we think is best for ourselves and the people we love.

★★★★


Documentary | USA, 2022 | NA | 6th September 2022 | Digital Download | Gravitas Ventures | Dir.Matthew Palmer


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