Louisiana Story - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Louisiana Story Reviews

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½ April 24, 2015
Lacks the intensity of Flaherty's other films.
½ March 30, 2015
Late film from Robert ("Nanook of the North") Flaherty who is well known for "staging" his documentaries, thereby capturing the ecstatic truth rather than the accountant's truth (as Werner Herzog might have it). Here, Flaherty makes no bones about casting his nonprofessional (and therefore "real") actors in a loose "fictional" story about a young Cajun boy who observes oil-drilling wildcatters in the bayou. The plot's suspense lies in the failure of the well to produce for most of the film, until the boy superstitiously throws salt and spits in the well to bring luck. A subplot involves his pet raccoon that may or may not have gotten himself eaten by a giant alligator. The story, simplified to sub-Disney levels and with very little dialogue, is not the point here. Instead, viewers are advised just to gawk at the amazing images of the bayou and the oil rig (shot by Richard Leacock) and to see how the principles of montage are used in action (e.g., shot of boy looking; shot of alligator swimming; shot of boy's alarmed reaction). Even the chase sequences (alligator vs. raccoon and boy vs. alligator vs. father) use cross-cutting as D. W. Griffith would have, in order to keep things moving and to keep us interested. Overall, something seems missing, however - maybe the real Louisiana? Selected for the National Film Registry in the Library of Congress.
½ October 2, 2012
Beautifully shot docufiction. When I go to Louisiana, I may end up watching it. Though, I hate to admit that a good portion of it dragged. Which is a nice way of saying 'boring.'

Though the very nature of the docufiction is so inherently phony, it makes the faux-laughter at non-random events very awkward.

The alligator egg scene may be the most terrifying in all of film history.

Really, though, it's just kind of wandering aimlessly through Louisiana. The swamp kid got to be annoying toward the end.

I appreciate the message, however. Especially how it spurred the ire of extremist activists in portraying oil workers as anything less than demonic. It can be read in the review on this page. "The film can be seen as a paean to the minimal effect an oil company can have on the wilderness it seeks to exploit."
The use of 'exploit' is, of course, very much intentional. It carries a pejorative connotation. Utilized (intended for the benefit of humanity), meaning the same thing, might've been more neutral. Or, perhaps, "...on the wilderness it seeks to assist in fulfilling its most charitable potential to humanity, much the same way a farmer does with crops that people consume for sustenance."
However, neutrality is not a goal of the critic, despite the pretense. What this does is to expose the inbred bias toward certain groups, & the lack of neutrality from certain film critics. They present an ideology. They deem a film controversial to the extent that it does not challenge their assumptions, as this film does. And they will extol films that simply echo their meager emotional leanings.
February 17, 2012
It's a little hard to judge because I (legally) downloaded a copy from, I think, the National Film Archive site? Eh, some site that has all sorts of public domain stuff available. My point is the quality of the file was rather poor, but from what I could see and hear, it was amateur actors extolling drilling for oil. Not bad, but kind of weird.
½ October 29, 2011
It builds a lovely atmosphere around the boy's way of life, weaving in details of the incorporation of an oil derrick in the family's backyard. That effect is underplayed (probably in part because of the funding for the film), but it works nonetheless.
October 10, 2011
well, the photography is nice. the story is agonizingly thin and really drags. the characters are bland and the performances are dry and passionless--the most spirited character is probably the raccoon. the dialogue is scant, and a good portion of it is in unsubtitled French. if Standard Oil wanted to promote an environmentally-friendly image of themselves, they didn't need this 78-minute yawn-fest to do it. decent score, decent photography, but overall a dull, pointless film.
October 10, 2011
well, the photography is nice. the story is agonizingly thin and really drags. the characters are bland and the performances are dry and passionless--the most spirited character is probably the raccoon. the dialogue is scant, and a good portion of it is in unsubtitled French. if Standard Oil wanted to promote an environmentally-friendly image of themselves, they didn't need this 78-minute yawn-fest to do it. decent score, decent photography, but overall a dull, pointless film.
½ August 14, 2011
Amazing visuals for a film made over 50 years ago, with a good story about man encroaching nature in an effort to extract oil from the bayou swamps of Louisiana.
July 11, 2011
A good film with less spoken words.
May 13, 2011
"Nanook" and "Aran" are compelling visions of man vs. nature. This is an oil propaganda picture, nothing more and nothing less.
½ October 7, 2010
An example of beautiful images and bad storytelling. I am sure they'll love it film school.
September 25, 2009
Strikes an odd balance of moods. Whether focusing on the untamed wild of the bayou or the complicated workings of the rig, the tone is simultaneously wondrous and dangerous. The balance is felt in the ebb and flow of tension in the narrative, the music, and the luminous cinematography. Even the way the actors are constantly smiling no matter what the circumstances adds to the unsettling-yet-bubbly atmosphere. The story itself is a bit thin and unsatisfying, however.
July 17, 2009
Almost no dialogue, the photography I need to see again. The lead kid was innocently mischievous but not really likable.
May 30, 2009
Pictorially interesting but a tad lumpen Robert Flaherty pseudo documentary. Man of Aran should be on here instead.
August 10, 2008
I wish they'd build an oil well in my backyard.
Super Reviewer
July 14, 2008
nominated for best picture by NBR
April 5, 2008
the relationship between the oil workers and the young boy seems a bit dated and odd today, but overall, it's interesting to watch
March 21, 2008
I did not really like this movie.
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