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DVD Review: The Driftless Area

April 26, 2016

By John Corrado

★★½ (out of 4)

The Driftless Area DVDA house fire and bag of stolen money forces the stories of a grieving young bartender (Anton Yelchin) who returns to his hometown following the death of his parents, a haunted fire survivor (Zooey Deschanel) whom he falls in love with, and a dangerous thief (John Hawkes) out for vengeance, to intersect and collide as destiny tries to set things right.

Mixing elements of backwoods crime thriller and character drama with some metaphysical undertones, The Driftless Area is a unique little mystery that draws engaging performances out of its all-star cast, which also includes some fine work from Alia Shawkat, Aubrey Plaza and Frank Langella.

Although the film isn’t always as powerful as it seems to want to be, and the screenplay occasionally errs on the side of self-serious, there are plenty of interesting philosophical yearnings throughout the almost ambitiously convoluted narrative, becoming a study in fate versus free will.  The excellent cast keeps us watching, as Anton Yelchin does a good job of carrying the film with a nicely understated performance, supported by another expectedly menacing turn from John Hawkes and the quietly affecting dramatic work of Zooey Deschanel, who succeeds at being enchanting.

The DVD also includes a “behind the scenes” featurette.

The Driftless Area is a Sony Pictures Home Entertainment release.  It’s 96 minutes and rated 14A.

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