The Unforeseen


Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15

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Critic Reviews

  1. 100
    Dunn's elegant, full-length debut presents a frightening and powerful argument against the kind of reckless, profit-driven land development that not only threatens natural resources, but life itself.
  2. 100
    One of the most extraordinary accomplishments in recent American nonfiction filmmaking. It hits hard as to facts, and opens its eyes to inexpressible mysteries. It strikes a clear moral and philosophical stance, and then -- as part of that philosophical stance, actually -- reveals its villain as a tragic and sympathetic figure.
  3. Reviewed by: Robert Koehler
    Observing locally and thinking globally, Laura Dunn's astonishing debut doc feature The Unforeseen is the kind of transformative viewing experience that has made the current period a golden age for nonfiction film.
  4. 83
    Although the parts of The Unforeseen dealing with the anti-development movement are pure go-team agitprop, Dunn lends the movie a lyrical cast by combining aerial shots of the transformed countryside with the voice of Wendell Berry, reading from his poem "Sabbaths."
  5. 80
    Dunn does an incredible job of condensing this extremely complex battle into a story that is simple and understandable, as well as extremely compelling.
  6. 80
    Making her first feature, Austin filmmaker Dunn no doubt included some unnecessary detours for star power's sake (like the inessential footage of Redford and Nelson). But it's ultimately the movie's glacial pace and willingness to let its mind and eye wander that produces its spiritual and intellectual heft--not to mention its atypical visual splendor.
  7. 80
    Director Laura Dunn presents a surprisingly sympathetic portrait of Bradley, but her advocacy is clear enough in the primal images of natural beauty and her subjects' heartfelt statements of respect for the landscape.
  8. Add The Unforeseen to the catalog of artfully produced nonfiction films that show how humans are screwing up the planet.
  9. What's unforeseen in Unforeseen, a superior documentary by Laura Dunn, are the consequences of a certain mind-set about mankind's relationship to the world and, finally, to itself.
  10. Hideously depressing but also enraging documentary.
  11. An unusually poetic and meditative eco-themed documentary, Laura Dunn's The Unforeseen is as beautiful as it is ultimately depressing.
  12. Though The Unforeseen has a few too many clips of Robert Redford, its environmentalist executive producer, its strength is its realization that these unforeseen developments are making few people happy.
  13. The result is an expansive and ambivalent testament to human ingenuity, human intransigence, and nature’s endangered yet enduring power to move.
  14. There’s nothing wrong with Mr. Redford and his love of nature. But there’s something irritatingly softheaded about the generic, nostalgia-tinged blandishments that the film finally resorts to -- a Wendell Berry poem, a grizzled old farmer wielding a sickle -- in place of truly hard questions and solutions that may effect meaningful change. With the polar ice caps melting, I want more than poetry and blame. I want a plan.
  15. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    The film's case against overdevelopment needs to be, and could be, aggressive, airtight. It should play to the unconverted. Instead, The Unforeseen gives us . . . poetry.

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