7 October 2011 | laura-179-85150
Dryland is an insightful exhibition of the daily struggles of life during the peak of the Great Depression when survival often meant making sacrifice. The film takes a unique approach on the topic of prohibition in that it is both based from a Canadian side of the border, and understood through the eyes of an unknowing, inquisitive child. I had the opportunity to see the premiere of Dryland and was lucky to hear Ferster discuss his family's personal connection with prohibition that ignited his inspiration for the film. As he takes his audience back to the year of 1929, Ferster's extensive knowledge about prohibition is emitted through the film from beginning to end. Ferster's passion for the subject matter is further carried through in the actors' delivery. Berry truly illustrates the emotions of a child (such as curiosity, fear, and anger) as she finds out her father's dark secret while playing the young Jolene. Likewise, Therrien's portrayal of a James is successful as he transitions between a devout father and family man, to an enigmatic salesman of illegal alcohol. Overall, the film gives a very accurate synopsis of the realities of everyday life during a time of economic hardship when prohibition existed. The cast, setting, script, and overall production of Dryland,paired with its truly unique subject matter makes for an incredibly well-done film. I would love to one day see an expanded version.