Like the central angelic figures in Wim Wenders’s Wings of Desire, The Unforeseen evokes the point of view of a divine being observing our species’ modern history—only here they’re mourning what they’ve borne witness to. The development of Barton Springs in Austin, Texas was an undertaking of great economic potential, though it wasn’t long before the excessive presence of industry took its toll on the local water supply. Of man’s many follies, this event suitably encapsulates his tendency to disrupt the very systems of the earth he too relies on, but so too does Unforeseen brilliantly observe the intersection of our most destructive habits with our most empowering abilities. Threatened with the possibility of Big Business tarnishing their town’s beloved swimming grounds (a natural setting so majestic that it looks as alien as anything out of Werner Herzog’s The Wild Blue Yonder), the local residents take their cause to the streets and courts, an inspiring declaration of We’re Not Going To Take It. Though fittingly directed by Laura Dunn, who utilizes landscape shots and historical footage paired with casual interviews to wax political in an everyday, passively poetic manner, one can’t help but feel the presence of producer Terrence Malick, a longtime Austin resident and with whom the project was originally conceived. As such, the film employs decidedly dreamlike tones and lush, organic textures even as it dishes out the facts and stats, bearing far more in common with the likes of The Thin Red Line and The New World than the entertaining but emotionally rigid An Inconvenient Truth. It is through this hypnotic interweaving of sight and sound that the film’s warnings against the excessive pillaging of our natural world take on a profound, spiritual resonance, and its witness to the assertion of our inner dreamers all the more powerful.
- Cinema Guild
- 88 min
- Laura Dunn
- Gary Bradley, Judah Folkman, William Greider, Willie Nelson, Robert Redford, Ann Richards
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