DIFF 2010 Review: The Dry Land

14 04 2010
The Dry Land
Ryan Piers Williams writing and directorial debut is an intense view of a returning Iraqi solider to his El Paso family.  The Dry Land stars Ryan O’Nan as James a war veteran dealing with post-traumatic stress.  America Ferrera plays his young wife, Sarah,  who is the first witness to the effects that war has had on her husband.  The film chronicles the mental battle James wages to remember the traumatic incident that sent him home.
Many people felt this shouldn’t be Ryan Piers’ feature debut, including his executive producer on the film.
America’s backing helped bring along a solid cast with Jason Ritter, Wilmer Valderrama and Melissa Leo.  The close nit friendships of the returning veterans really stood out.  James and Raymond (Wilmer) set out to visit there severely wounded friend Henry (Diego Klattenhoff).   Ryan O’Nan talks about how the guys came together to further there performances.
Wilmer Valderrama, Ryan Piers Williams, Diego  Klattenhoff and Ryan O'Nan
Diego (Henry), Ryan Piers, Ryan O’Nan (James) and Wilmer Valderrama (Raymond).
The tense and violent fall-out between James and his best friend Michael (Jason Ritter) becomes more and more frightening as the story unfolds.  On top of these issues James is also dealing with his dying mother (powerfully played by Melissa Leo).  All of these pressures and struggles force James into a drunken and mindless state that escalates to the films final shots.  Through all of these sad elements the films harrowing ending does have a glimpse of hope in the form of Sarah’s love for James.  America discussed how her director helped her figure out the role.
Take the time to jump on this film’s band wagon.  Its a wonderful view of the impact war is having on our young men and women.
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