Entertainment Weekly - 08/12/2005
"[Scott] had the grit to understand that nuance can win the day if calibrated correctly..."
Veteran actor Campbell Scott (ROGER DODGER, DYING YOUNG) directs this quietly sparkling film, set in the achingly beautiful desert of New Mexico. There, a family lives a life withdrawn from all contact with society, completely independent and self-sufficient. Patriarch Charley (Sam Elliott, HULK) lives with his strong, beautiful wife Arlene (Joan Allen, YES) and their daughter Bo (Valentina de Angelis), and together they live off the land and Charley's veteran's check. They are surprised one day by a visit from a bumbling IRS agent, William Gibbs (Jim True-Frost, THE HUDSUCKER PROXY), who has been sent to conduct an audit. His excursion takes an unexpected turn, however, as he suffers a bee sting to which he is highly allergic. Forced to recuperate in the home from which he came to extract money, the agent is soon enamored by all that he discovers there. Not overly romanticized, however, life on the farm has its own problems, as existential ennui finds its greatest expression in the extreme depression that has put Charley into a near-catatonic state. Gorgeously shot and unfolding at a leisurely pace, Scott's subtle drama benefits from remarkable performances from all the characters, including charming newcomer de Angelis, a shamanistic turn from Allen, and quintessential stoic cowboy Elliott. Recalling Terrence Malick in its dreamy sense of place and reliance on voice-over (an adult Bo played by Amy Brenneman), OFF THE MAP is a delicate tale that offers a hidden treasure of emotion.
Coming Of Age |
Family Crises |
Family Interaction |