The Unforeseen (2008)


Critic Consensus: A calm documentary that doesn't resort to shrill polemics, The Unforeseen also benefits from great interview subjects and jaw-dropping cinematography.


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Movie Info

In the 1980s, an ambitious real estate developer came to Austin, Tex., with a dream--to transform miles of pristine wilderness into a sprawling self-sufficient city. When the development threatened a local treasure, a fragile limestone aquifer and a naturally spring-fed swimming hole, the community decided to fight back. Laura Dunn's lyrical and beautifully crafted documentary uses this landmark struggle--a microcosm of what's happening in communities across the country today--to consider the cost of the American dream.

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Critic Reviews for The Unforeseen

All Critics (39) | Top Critics (15)

By turns rapturously beautiful and unspeakably sad while considering the consequences of unchecked urban sprawl.

Jun 6, 2008 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Even if the director eventually hard-pedals her pantheist imagery into cliché, this inconvenient truth is discreet, intimate and regularly surprising.

May 2, 2008 | Full Review…

No one who sees this intriguing documentary will want to argue with reporter Greider when he forcefully insists, "We need a more mature regard for the future." We do indeed.

Mar 14, 2008 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

[Cinematographer] Daniel has never shot a film for Malick, though you'd hardly guess so, given The Unforeseen's poetic and dreamy shots of nature that, like the images that open the Malick's "The Thin Red Line," hint at an Earthly paradise.

Mar 14, 2008 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

The Unforeseen is a poetic and high-minded meditation on American developers' manifest destiny and the cancer it introduces into the natural world.

Mar 10, 2008 | Full Review…

As frustrating as it is welcome.

Mar 7, 2008 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Unforeseen


Although directed by Laura Dunn, who utilizes landscape shots and historical footage paired with casual interviews in an everyday, passively poetic manner, one can't help but feel the presence of producer Terrence Malick. Also utilized are the dreamlike tones and lush, organic textures even as it dishes out the facts and statistics, having far more in common with the likes of The Thin Red Line than the entertaining and rigid An Inconvenient Truth. However, this documentary does take its' musical cues from Sigur Ros which add to the dreamlike quality. Terrence Malick, a long time resident of Austin, originally conceived the idea for the film and Robert Redford spent his summers in Austin as a child. He learned to swim in the natural springs which feature so prominently in the film and became actively involved when he learned about the developments. The Unforeseen is inspiring in its examination of the power of the individual to fight for environmental preservation and urges viewers to choose between the importance of protecting the individual American's "right to pollute" and the need to secure a safe environment for our future and to do something about it. Photobucket

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El Hombre Invisible

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