Beasts of the Southern Wild review by Captain Video

This Sundance Film festival pick certainly departs form the usual Hollywood fare. If you are tired of the usual "boy meets girl" Hollywood story, then "Beasts of the Southern Wild" is worth a view. It is an interesting story told mainly through the eyes of a child both in narration and point of view.

The story takes place in a dirt-poor, backwater camp? house? shack? I am not sure how to properly describe the location. It takes place in a community that lives (literally) on the wrong side of a levee. Most homes are ramshackle places, old trailers or huts placed on stilts because of flooding. Poverty isn't the biggest problem, they are located in an area they call the bathtub. A location near the river and close to the levee is below sea level and this location is essentially a disaster waiting to happen. The inhabitants, are proud and many are unwilling to move to the high ground when storms approach. I'll give you one guess as to what happens next. Yep you guessed it, there is a storm and a flood. The story is about this unusual family and community before, during and after the storm.

The father daughter team, are surviving in the outskirts of society. It is not immediately apparent why he is raising the daughter on his own, but it is clear that he has his own demons to face. His drinking problem is obvious, but he has other issues as well. Let's just say he could do with some anger management counselling.

The storm hits, and we follow the father and daughter as they band together with the other survivors in the flooded conditions.

Eventually he has some difficult decisions to make, after a foolish first decision, he eventually tries to make a decision that is in the best interest for his daughter.

While my summary of the plot might not sound fascinating, the telling of the story is very good. The ambiance and overall mood of the film is well crafted if not a little off-putting. The grit and grime of people living on the fringe of society is hard to watch and captivating at the same time. It is like a train wreck, you don't want to watch, but yet you can't look away. The editing and overall film-making is excellent, with only two annoyances. First, the "shaky-cam" hand held scenes were a bit too shaky and distracting. Secondly, in some parts of the film, the music score was a bit too much and actually would take you out of the moment instead of reinforcing it. It can be argued that these are conscious decisions by the film maker to create a certain effect, but when it takes you out of the film I fell that is is over done.

Still, despite the rare shaky-cam and hey-listen-to-me-sound track issues, "Beasts of the Southern Wild" is well worth watching. It is a film that will make you think about family, human resiliency and it might make you grateful for your good fortune.

Bottom line, this film gets 7 jackasses.

7 out of 10 Jackasses
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