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DamNation Image

Mixed or average reviews - based on 5 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: This powerful film odyssey across America explores the sea change in our national attitude from pride in big dams as engineering wonders to the growing awareness that our own future is bound to the life and health of our rivers. Dam removal has moved beyond the fictional Monkey Wrench Gang to go mainstream. Where obsolete dams come down, rivers bound back to life, giving salmon and other wild fish the right of return to primeval spawning grounds, after decades without access. DamNation’s majestic cinematography and unexpected discoveries move through rivers and landscapes altered by dams, but also through a metamorphosis in values, from conquest of the natural world to knowing ourselves as part of nature. Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 5
  2. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. Reviewed by: Jeff Baker
    May 9, 2014
    What's unusual about DamNation isn't its politics but its production and distribution. It was financed by Patagonia and its chairman, Yvon Chouinard, and will be screened in Patagonia stores.
  2. Reviewed by: Chris Packham
    May 6, 2014
    Co-director and narrator Ben Knight interviews activists, officials, social jammers, and scientists, approaching the subject not with outrage, but with humor and optimism.
  3. Reviewed by: Geoff Berkshire
    May 20, 2014
    The film’s haphazard focus muddies the waters without doing anything to clarify the overall stakes. Fortunately, the continual visual splendors make a rather striking argument of their own.
  4. Reviewed by: Robert Abele
    May 15, 2014
    DamNation is certainly a picturesque splash of doc advocacy, as long as you don't dwell on the cracks.
  5. Reviewed by: Nicolas Rapold
    May 8, 2014
    If the film is less persuasive for its lack of balance, it’s at least heartening to learn that undesirable dams can be destroyed and their rivers restored to their old ways and means.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. May 21, 2014
    I went expecting the film to be tedious and preachy. It is just the opposite. In an exciting and visually compelling way it gets you to feel that our wild rivers are an important part of America's heritage, and many are now messed up with obsolete dams. The editing, cinematography and soundtrack are all really good - hats off to Travis Rummel and Ben Knight, also Matt Stoecker and Yvon Chouinard.. There is a surprising amount of fun in the movie - illegal vandalism, nudity in Glen Canyon, plenty of C4 as dams are removed. They have made a real movie here, not just a political documentary. I look forward to seeing whatever they do next. Go see this movie, or if necessary rent it. Expand