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The Green Life: Movie Review Friday: Dandelion

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February 11, 2011

Movie Review Friday: Dandelion

Escape to the movies with one of our Movie Review Friday selections. Each week we review a film with an environmental theme that's currently in theaters or on DVD.

Dandelion (2004)
Available on DVD 

The first "character" we meet in Dandelion is the landscape of rural Idaho: Wind carves gentle waves in an amber, sun-drenched field. Only after this peaceful image is absorbed do we meet our protagonist, Mason Mullich (Mad Men's Vincent Kartheiser). Though briefly rendered insignificant by nature's vast scale, young Mason gains visual precedence when he raises a gun to his head.

Even as Mason's story progresses from this suicidal moment, his actions seem to mirror his environment as he yields to both love and tragedy with the stoicism of wind-blown wheat. Indeed, director Mark Milgard could be compared to Ang Lee in the way he cultivates a sweeping landscape's dramatic potential.

The small, rural town where Mason falls in love with newcomer Danny Voss (Taryn Manning) is steeped in a culture of concealed dysfunction, addiction, and violence that's rendered intimate and familiar with poetic cinematography. Kartheiser's strong performance drives a subtly wrought plot in which characters' lives are plucked and planted as easily as dandelion seeds.

--Della Watson

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