The Dry Land
Director/Writer: Ryan Piers Williams
Review By: Mut “I feel alright today” Asheru
When James (Ryan O’Nan) returns home to Texas from Iraq to wife Sarah (America Ferrera), family and friends we start to see very quickly that James suffers from post traumatic stress disorder and that his wife and friends are having a hard time understanding what to do. The only one that remotely knows what he may be going through is his ailing mother Martha (Melissa Leo) because James’ father was a Vietnam vet and didn’t come back home the same either.
This is an outstanding first time offering film for writer/director Ryan Piers Williams. How he was able to score the cast he scored his first time out is amazing and still pretty much a mystery to me. Knowing a few soldiers myself that came back a tad bit jacked up mentally from Iraq and Afghanistan, O’Nan was totally believable. PTSD is not always loud in its appearance and O’Nan’s subtle portrayal did a lot to quiet the audience and allow us to be drawn into the character. As was sitting there trying (along with his family and friends) to figure out what was wrong with him and how/if he would get better I became wrapped up in the character and his plight.
Beautifully shot and edited, The Dry Land did a great job in highlighting the disorder and O’Nan’s pretty eyes. He does a mental breakdown pretty good.