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.
Documentary , Special Interest
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Critic Reviews for The Unforeseen

All Critics (36) | Top Critics (15)

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

Full Review… | June 6, 2008
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | May 1, 2008
Time Out
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | March 14, 2008
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

[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.

Full Review… | March 14, 2008
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | March 10, 2008
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

As frustrating as it is welcome.

Full Review… | March 7, 2008
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Unforeseen


It craves for all kinds of persuasion to appeal to the audience, but loses many of its logic and factual evidence underneath the pile of credible men, cinematography, and sentimental music

Kevin Lee
Kevin Lee

This was really quite boring unless you lived in Austin, TX over the past 25 years. I was not impressed witht the flow & could have been shortened a good 20 minutes by taking out all the non-relevant footage with music. I was a little thrown by the Christian song to end it as well, didn't think it fit at all.

Chris Cooper
Chris Cooper

I didn?t know anything about this documentary except the tagline when I watched it. It started and I vaguely noticed Terrence Malick?s name in the credits. Then it flowed into the sweeping images and I thought it was wonderful cinematography for a documentary. It is surely one of those beautiful visual documentaries like Microcosmos or Winged Migration, but it isn?t about nature necessarily. However, despite a strong start, it settles in the middle and never reaches for anything grand. Maybe it?s just the subject stalled, but that brought the movie back to a smaller level or grand documentary meaning. It is good enough, but keeps you wanting something more action oriented, even in just there being some sort of action. Still, I?m a Malick and documentary whore.

Lee B
Lee B

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