Review: ‘Windfall’

Though vividly shot in HD, "Windfall" is a gassy documentary about the downside of wind power.

Though vividly shot in HD, “Windfall” is a gassy documentary about the downside of wind power. When alternative energy in the form of gigantic wind turbines comes to the rural farm town of Meredith, N.Y., the populace is divided, though the docu comes down strictly and gratingly on the side of those upset with the headache-inducing vibrations and shadows caused by these ostensibly earth-friendly tools. Variably articulate subjects drone on and on in an 83-minute film that could easily make its TV news-style point in a half-hour or less. Distribution of the pic at its current length seems inconceivable.

Monotony sets in early as director Laura Israel interviews Meredith residents who leased their property to wind-energy corporations with good intentions and suffered the consequences. Lacking a narrative frame, belabored pic proceeds through a series of contentious meetings — as town board members stand to benefit from pro-wind laws — without including the slightest hint of dramatic progress, much less resolution. By the time Israel gets around to acknowledging the threat of turbines to Meredith’s bat population, the beleaguered viewer is ready for any sort of cool breeze.

Windfall

Documentary

Production

A Cat Hollow Films production. Produced by Laura Israel, Autumn Tarleton. Executive producer, Don Faller. Co-producer, Stacey Foster. Directed by Laura Israel.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), Brian Jackson; editors, Israel, Stacey Foster, Alex Bingham; music, Wade Schuman, Hazmat Modine; music supervisor, Olivier Conan; art director, Bingham. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Real to Reel), Sept. 15, 2010. Running time: 83 MIN.

With

Scott Alexander, Frank Bachler, Ron Bailey, Sue Bailey, Rick Beyer, Tara Collins, Eve Kelley, Rosemary Nichols, T. Boone Pickens, Rachel Polens, Marge Rockefeller, Bob Rosen, Marc Schneider.

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