We are left to rue This Is Our Land as an opportunity missed, and to wonder how else the tale could have been told.
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At times the film seems to struggle to find the right aperture: It hints at elements I wanted to know more about, and occasionally goes into avenues that seem to distract from Pauline’s compelling storyline.
Throughout the film, Lucas Belvaux sidelines the emotional textures that might complicate all his sermonizing.
This Is Our Land emerges as a vital portrait of political machination, human duality, the power of fear-mongering and how people can reflexively divide into "us and them."
The drama is well-paced, and all of the actors are wonderful. Mr. Dussollier, a regular presence in the late works of Alain Resnais, is resourceful in communicating Berthier’s disturbing dual nature, and Ms. Dequenne remains appealing even when her character is making the most grievously ill-advised choices.
The film is so calculated in its plotting that it loses some of its chill.
Belvaux has made a gutsy, discomfiting movie about going along to get along, and just how dangerous that impulse can ultimately be.
This is Our Land’s biggest flaw lies in the bluntness of its message and approach.