Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Donner Party (2009) R - 2 Stars

For such a simple movie, surprising enough it received an "R" rating. Probably for the violence in cannibalism this party of pioneering American emigrants endured on their quest to settle in California. Though the movie is severely flawed in both acting and no real character development, Crispin Glover gives a believable performance. It's no "Alive" but along with the forsaken sounding musical score, it held me captive. Knowing the movie is based on true events, is also hard to imagine the grim reality of drawing sticks to eat a friend or loved one for survival.

In the 1840's a group of pioneers, with their sights on California, are reaching the last of their supplies in the small encampment they call home. With blizzard winter conditions in full force, William Hastings enlightens the group their supplies are running out and tells them of a stock pile of supplies close by. Some of the men, women and children stay behind in hopes of supplies returning soon. The rest head off in search of food and finding a rescue team to go back for the others. The group known as "Forlorn Hope" takes Hastings suggestion to cut through the Sierra Mountains in order to shorten their journey. Truth be told, no supplies ahead as Hastings made the story up to get the group motivated to leave, giving them some hope of survival. The group lead by William Foster, (Crispin Glover), and William Eddy, (Clayne Crawford), trek further into the mountains only to find blinding snow without shelter. As members of the party fall ill, the others must make a gruesome decision to eat their fellow travelers in order to survive.

On January 19, 1847, 42 survivors from the Donner Party were rescued. Little did they know, they were only 5 miles from civilization at the time of their rescue.

Anacapa Entertainment
Director: T.J. Martin
Producers: Mark Costa, John Emerson Moore, Ted Meyer
I viewed 12/10

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