Archives / 2010 Sundance Film Festival

The Dry Land

Director: Ryan Piers Williams

Screenwriters: Ryan Piers Williams

Institute History

  • 2010 Sundance Film Festival

Description

James (Ryan O’Nan) returns from Iraq to face a new battle—reintegrating into his small-town life in Texas. His wife (America Ferrera), his mother (Melissa Leo), and his friend (Jason Ritter) provide support, but they can’t fully understand the pain and suffering he feels since his tour of duty ended. Lonely, James reconnects with an army buddy (Wilmer Valderrama), who provides him with compassion and camaraderie during his battle to process his experiences in Iraq. But their reunion also exposes the different ways that war affects people—at least on the surface.

This moving, taut story of redemption and reconstruction extends beyond a post-traumatic-stress-disorder narrative. O’Nan is heartbreaking as he explores the depths of his internal struggle; Ferrera fearlessly tackles her role of a young wife in turmoil. The Dry Land is about one man’s fight within his own terrain—his country, home, and mind—and his journey to rebuild what he’s lost.


(Archives note: see also YouTube Channel.)

— Kim Yutani

Screening Details

  • Section: U.S. Dramatic Competition
  • Film Type: Dramatic Feature
  • Country: U.S.A.
  • Language: Spanish and English
  • Run Time: 92 min.
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