Tribeca 2017 Review: No Man’s Land
The widely publicized story of Ammon Bundy and the militia group who overtook a Malheur Refuge in Oregon is not new information to anyone, but No Man’s Land gives a fascinating behind the scenes look into what happened during that 41-day occupation. What is great about No Man’s Land is that it takes the time to develop and give credence to the motives behind those men, women and even children at the Refuge. The motivations of these people involved are clear at the beginning. Their purpose seemed to only become muddled with the addition of some fanatical people who seem more concerned with taking on the government as a whole than just the one issue presented. This purpose further became muddled when it became apparent that the leadership, meaning Ammon Bundy and his brother Ryan had no clear plan on what they would do next.
The cinematography and editing in No Man’s Land are beautiful. There are shots of the open land with the light shining through that are awe-inspiring. The interviews and images from the occupation really provide the human element and turn doubt upon the media coverage of the occupation. While the fanatics were there, the motivations of the ranchers were set in a decent and possibly justified place. This unbiased representation really allows for the viewer to form their own opinions and understand this confrontation on a more personal level.
While the film could have been edited down to be a little shorter, the story is still fascinating and presented in an unbiased way. David Byars should be incredibly proud of his directorial debut. Coupled with absorbing visuals, behind the scenes and real footage of the occupation, No Man’s Land is certainly a captivating film.