offoffoff film



Site links
  • Contact us

    Get our newsletter:
    Search the site:

    Film section
  • Film main page
  • Film archive
  • Audio index
  • Film links

    Top 10 lists

  • Top 10 films of 2004
    (Andrea, David, Joshua, Leslie)
  • Top 10 films of 2003
    (Andrea, David, Joshua, Leslie)
  • Top 10 films of 2002
  • Top 10 films of 2001
  • Top 10 films of 2000
  • Top 10 films of 1999
  •  All of our top 10 lists, 1999 - 2004

    Current movies

  • Afterschool
  • Antichrist
  • Babies
  • Broken Embraces
  • Dare
  • District 9
  • The End of Poverty?
  • Fix
  • Food Beware
  • The Men Who Stare at Goats
  • Pirate Radio
  • Precious
  • Red Cliff
  • The September Issue


  • Brooklyn International Film Festival
  • Human Rights Watch Film Festival
  • New York Film Festival


    Complete archive

    Recent reviews:
  • (500) Days of Summer
  • Anita O'Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer
  • The Art of the Steal
  • The Beetle
  • Blessed is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh
  • Boy A
  • Brideshead Revisited
  • The Brothers Bloom
  • Burn After Reading
  • Cold Souls
  • The Duchess
  • Elegy
  • Enlighten Up! A Skeptic's Journey Into the World of Yoga
  • Five Minutes of Heaven
  • Flame and Citron
  • Frozen River
  • Happy-Go-Lucky
  • How to Lose Friends & Alienate People
  • The Human Condition
  • Hunger
  • Inglourious Basterds
  • King of Shadows
  • The Lemon Tree
  • Lorna's Silence
  • A Man Named Pearl
  • Man on Wire
  • Memorial Day
  • Mister Foe
  • Morning Light
  • My F├╝hrer
  • My One and Only
  • Paris
  • The Pervert's Guide to Cinema
  • Peter and Vandy
  • Police, Adjective
  • Pray the Devil Back to Hell
  • Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind
  • Rachel Getting Married
  • A Secret
  • Sleep Dealer
  • St. Trinian's
  • Thirst
  • Throw Down Your Heart
  • Valentino: The Last Emperor
  • What's the Matter with Kansas?
  • Wild Grass
  • Jay DiPietro


    Land of Plenty

    Outside influence

    German director Wim Wenders' "Land of Plenty" provides a socially conscious view of poverty and paranoia in an America somewhat resembling the real one.


    Like Lars von Trier's "Dogville," Wim Wenders' "Land of Plenty" is a critical broadside about America that no American would have made. It's a caricature that indicts, if not our actual country, then a rather similar country that an outsider imagines America to be.

    Directed by: Wim Wenders.
    Written by: Scott Derricksonm Michael Meredith, Wim Wenders.
    Cast: Michelle Williams, John Diehl, Shaun Toub, Wendell Pierce, Richard Edson, Burt Young, Yuri Elvin, Jeris Poindexter, Rhonda Stubbins White, Bernard White.
    Cinematography: Franz Lustig.
    Edited by: Moritz Laube.

    Related links: Official site
    Philadelphia Film Festival 2005
    • Overview

    • Official festival site

    • Clean
    • Crying Out Love in the Center of the World
    • Evilenko
    • Frozen

    • Machuca
    • Or (My Treasure)
    • Winter Solstice
    • Woman Is the Future of Man
    Seattle Film Festival 2005
    • Overview

     • Official site

    • 9 Songs
    • After the Day Before
    • Cape of Good Hope
    • Frozen
    • Junebug
    • Machuca
    • Max and Grace
    • The Real Dirt on Farmer John
    • The Syrian Bride
    • The World
    One of the movie's two central characters, Lana, is a nomadic young American woman returning to the U.S. after two years doing volunteer work in Israel. A minister who once worked with her missionary father and now runs a shelter in Los Angeles picks her up at the airport and drives her along the homeless-lined streets.

    "I had no idea," says a stunned Lana (Michelle Williams). "The last thing they talk about in the West Bank is poverty in America."

    "Last thing they talk about in the West Wing is poverty in America," the minister (Wendell Pierce of "The Wire") retorts.

    Land of Plenty  
    The last thing they talk about in American movies, as well, is poverty in America, so we have the German Wenders to paint a certain kind of picture for us. In this country, the streets are not only dotted with homeless people but lined with them, shoulder to shoulder. In this version of the country, patriotic but possibly schizophrenic vigilantes cruise around with guns and eavesdropping equipment looking for asses to kick.

    The wiggy vigilante in this case is Paul (John Diehl), and Lana, a niece he's hardly ever known, has come to the U.S. to bring him a letter from her dying mother abroad. Paul has been estranged from his family because he's basically estranged from everyone — recognizing his own precarious mental state, he avoids everyone but his assistant Jimmy (the great Richard Edson), as he tracks down real or imagined evildoers in our midst.

      Land of Plenty
    More revelations about America await, as these standoffish characters let one another into their messed-up lives just a little. A grim (if slightly random) incident at the homeless shelter drives them closer together and sends them on a quest into the desert. Hoping to root out the perpetrators of a terrorist attack, they find something surprising and revealing out there in a stark, all-American landscape of sand, service stations and trailers.

    Wenders' origins on the other side of the Atlantic provide a somewhat skewed angle from which to hold a mirror up to America, but as with any caricature, "Land of Plenty" grows from some element of truth. What we're meant to take home is a message — make that a "Message" with a capital "M." Poverty is Serious. Security Is Becoming a Bit of an Obsession. We Need to Get Out of Our Cars and Meet Each Other Once in a While. All true in their way; all a bit exaggerated in this film.

    OCTOBER 10, 2005

    Reader comments on Land of Plenty:

  • [no subject]   from Jorane, Aug 21, 2006
  • Re: [no subject]   from PSM, Jul 25, 2009
  • Heavy-handed   from PSM, Jul 25, 2009

  • Post a comment on "Land of Plenty"