The Driftless Area: Meaning and Purpose Don’t Come Easily

driftlessareaPierre (Anton Yelchin) arrives back in his hometown after his parents die. Soon, he’s drawn into the vortex of two powerful forces in town, and struggles to establish some element of control over his own life. The first force is one of mysterious beauty, Stella (Zooey Deschanel), and the second is one of anger and violence, Shane (John Hawkes). In this slow boiling thriller about relationships in small-town life, we can’t exactly guess how all of this will end.

In supporting roles, Frank Langella takes in or mentors Stella after a house fire, as the mysteriously opaque Tim Greer. [Seriously, when has Langella not been either mysterious or opaque?] On the other side of the equation, balancing out Greer’s more benevolent encouragement is Ciaran Hinds’ Ned, an accomplice in Shane’s dirty dealings.

Aimed at proving to be both metaphysical, funny, and dramatic,?The Driftless Area?feels at times as if it drifts, trying to get its footing exactly right. It’s not sure exactly where the meaning it wants will come from, much like its lead, Pierre. But in Pierre’s case, discovering his meaning may require him to take a stand, to fight back against the bullying. Sometimes, when you take a stand like that, you pay the price…

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