×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Film Review: ‘Boone’

Life and toil on a Southern Oregon organic farm is chronicled in this verite documentary.

With:
Dana Kristal, Zachary Jasper Miller, Michael Moss.

Official Site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5457602/

Christopher LaMarca’s poetical verite feature “Boone” spends a year or so — the final year, it turns out — among residents of a rural Southern Oregon farm. The bucolic life looks beautiful if bone-wearying here, yet no amount of toil can ultimately save this family-scaled enterprise from the ruination of modern agricultural economics. Lacking much in the way of explanatory detail, let alone political commentary, this spare, straightforward observation of a disappearing way of life will appeal to fans of enigmatic, lyrical documentaries like the recent “Rich Hill” or Frederick Wiseman’s oeuvre.

The 30-ish trio who live and work on Boone’s Farm are veterans of organic farming and environmental activism, though those backstories — even clarifying their relationships to one another — don’t fit into director LaMarca’s purist on-screen approach. Instead, he focuses strictly on the daily labor that Zachary, Dana and Michael, aka Mookie, share. A big part of their operation revolves around maintaining a herd of goats, with the related manufacture of cheese and other foodstuffs. But they also have chickens and a donkey, grow produce, do some logging, make canned goods for sale, repair their own machinery, and so on and so forth.

There’s never any complaining about the life they’ve chosen (Mookie established the farm in 2001, the others joining several years later), but as one observes, “We work our asses off … (yet) even if it’s successful, it’s still not enough.” Finally, accumulated debts force them to shutter the operation a decade after its founding. The closing text explains that state regulations around the sale of raw milk and cheese had doomed the farm’s financial survival.

There’s some drama here, from an early thunderstorm (which elicits a priceless why-is-this-torment-happening-to-me expression from one incredulous goat) to the ebbing life of a beloved dog and, finally, the packing up and selling off of all farm assets. It’s implicit that an endeavor such as this, the likes of which sustained millions of Americans until recent decades, ought to be able to support its owners. The film doesn’t need to explain why they no longer do; small, sustainable agriculture is on the losing end of business trends worldwide, despite all escalating desire for its environmental and dietary virtues.

Sad as the specific outcome and underlying message is, “Boone” is primarily a pastoral experience marked by some lovely cinematography, an unhurried pace and atmospheric ambient sound design. (The only music heard is a few tracks by piano-based songwriter Steve Waitt that the subjects play themselves.) The thoughtful assembly underlines the straightforward yet meditative tenor in all departments.

Film Review: 'Boone'

Reviewed online, San Francisco, March 10, 2016. (In SXSW Film Festival — Visions.) Running time: 75 MIN.

Production: (Documentary) A Chemical Shed production, in association with Pulse Films. Produced by Katrina Taylor. Executive producer, Roger Moss.

Crew: Directed by Christopher LaMarca. Camera (color, HD), LaMarca; editor, Katrina Taylor; music, Steve Waitt; sound, LaMarca, Gordon Hempton; supervising sound editor/sound designer, Matthew Polis; re-recording mixer, Cody Ball; associate producers, Katherine Gorringe, Jeffrey Star.

With: Dana Kristal, Zachary Jasper Miller, Michael Moss.

More Film

  • Brett Leonard Boards 'Elijah'

    Film News Roundup: 'Lawnmower Man' Director Brett Leonard Boards 'Elijah'

    In today’s film news roundup, “Elijah” gets a director, a French fry documentary starts shooting and “Uglydolls” moves its release date forward. PROJECT LAUNCH More Reviews Broadway Review: 'To Kill a Mockingbird' Film Review: 'Dead Women Walking' Brett Leonard, best known for directing ”The Lawnmower Man” and “Virtuosity,” will direct the supernatural feature film “Elijah,” [...]

  • SAG-AFTRA HQ

    SAG-AFTRA Commercial Negotiations Set for February

    With no fanfare, SAG-AFTRA and the ad industry have set a mid-February start for negotiations for a successor deal to the union’s master contract, Variety has learned. The current three-year deal — which covers about $1 billion in annual earnings — expires on March 31. SAG-AFTRA and the Joint Policy Committee of the ad industry [...]

  • SONDRA LOCKESONDRA LOCKE - 1986

    Oscar Nominee Sondra Locke Dies at 74

    Actress and director Sondra Locke, who received a supporting actress Oscar nomination in her first movie role for “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter,” died Nov. 3 at 74. The Los Angeles County Public Health Department confirmed her death. She died due to breast and bone cancer, according to Radar Online, which reported that she [...]

  • Clint Eastwood and Alison Eastwood'The Mule'

    Clint Eastwood: Why Alison Eastwood Came Out of Acting Retirement for Her Dad

    Clint Eastwood’s daughter Alison Eastwood was done with acting after appearing in 2014’s “Finding Harmony.” Or so she thought. More Reviews Broadway Review: 'To Kill a Mockingbird' Film Review: 'Dead Women Walking' It was a Friday night and she and her husband were heading to dinner when her father’s producer Sam Moore called. “He [says], [...]

  • 'Dead Women Walking' Review: Uncompromising, Powerful

    Film Review: 'Dead Women Walking'

    The sober and gripping “Dead Women Walking” focuses on the final days of a series of female inmates facing the death sentence. Divided into nine chapters, each inching its way inexorably closer to the moment of execution, the drama turns the fragmentation of its approach to a powerful advantage. Not only do the individual stories [...]

  • Sam Mendes

    Sam Mendes' World War I Drama '1917' Set for Awards-Season Launch on Christmas 2019

    Universal Pictures has given an awards-season release date of Dec. 25, 2019, to Sam Mendes’ World War I drama “1971.” Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners is producing “1917” through its DreamWorks Pictures brand. “1917” will open in limited release on Christmas Day then go wide two weeks later on Jan. 10, 2020. More Reviews Broadway Review: [...]

  • Ventana Sur Queer Latin Film Panel

    Ventana Sur: Panel Talks Merits, Setbacks in Latin Queer Cinema

    BUENOS AIRES — Four venerable professionals from the cinema world joined on Monday evening for Queer Cinema In Latin America, a frank discussion on Latin America’s role within the queer filmscape for Ventana Sur’s Industry conference series held at the UCA campus in Buenos Aires. Touching on advancements in character arc and notable achievements in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content