#Film Review: Netflix’s Pray for Rain

Director: Alex Ranarivelo

Rating: 4/5

A new film on Netflix offers a well-known narration of corporations destroying farmers and small businesses in America. However, this film also offers something else, and that is criticism of NGOs and their plight to protect the nature while destroying people’s lives.

This is quite novel in cinematography that normally focuses on corporations only. It is enough to remember Erin Brockovich, which is how the anti-corporate discourse started.

Thus, in this new film director and writers showed us how corporations secretly buy farms by decreasing the price of the land. However, they are supported by NGO happily blocking water to farms to preserve fish that lives in a reservoir from where the farmers were originally getting the water. Farmers claimed they only used small percentage of the water and that in the case all farms are shut down people’s lives will be destroyed as farmers will loose their farms and become poor, and the food prices will rise. However, NGO did not show much understanding arguing that farmers can farm anywhere whereas the fish can only live in that particular reservoir.

The whole situation gets discovered when Emma Gardner’s (Anabelle Stephenson) father dies and she starts discovering the truth surrounding her father’s conflicts with NGO and influential farmers who were advocating selling of the land. As a N.Y. fashion journalist she also faces prejudices for being a City girl but she does not stop until she discovers that corporations are actually using NGO to foster their interests, and that one highly positioned member of the NGO was also buying land for his own interest.

Thus, in this film there are no good or bad guys when it comes to big organisations be it NGO or a corporation. They are all portrayed as working for their own interests and not for the interest of lay people.

This is quite an interesting concept, and well overdue for it is truth that, while many NGOs work hard to help lay people there are also some who are more concerned with paying salaries to its leaders than helping anyone, which does not make them any different from corporations they criticise. In addition, this film poses a question whether it is worth looking after the environment when people’s lives will be destroyed for many decades, which then opens another question because we do need to ask ourselves what kind of world we want to leave behind. But then again, we also need to survive while we are alive and well so this is a serious moral dilemma and a question whether personal benefits outweigh benefits of many, even if it is the many of the future.

The only problem with the film is the gang part. In other words, gangs are hired by corporations to intimidate and bully farmers, but this part is not done well because Emma’s fighting with gangs in a way the film portrays is simply naïve.

Jane Seymour is brilliant as Olivia Gardner, and I was also pleased to see Tyler Jacob Moore as Crash Murphy, a local farmer who clashes with NGOs for trying to stop him to water his farm. For those who do not know Tyler Jacob Moore, he was also brilliant as a police officer Tony in one of my all-time favourite series Shameless (US) (for a review see here).

Overall, refreshing and different than anything else I recently saw on a similar topic.

Thank you for reading.

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